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USING YOUR MIRRORS WHEN DRIVING

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Using your mirrors: why they are so important?


As you read this:

(imagine you're driving)

I've listened to many Driving Instructors over the years and heard the same thing: (you might have heard something similar)

Listen to this. Is it familiar?

"That's it, come off the gas, that's good!

Check your mirrors
That's good!

Now, signal left, check your mirrors, slow down, check your mirrors again

Good! Well done!
That's it, select 2nd gear

That's good! Check your mirrors, well done!
Good, good, now start to steer into your new road

OK is the road clear? Good!
Start to accelerate, that's good!

Now check your mirrors again, that's good!

There! Is it all clear?
Good! Another quick check of your mirrors, that's good!

That's it, one final mirror check

Good!
Good!

Well done!"


Lot's of emphasis on checking mirrors and of course any good pupil will follow these instructions perfectly

  • But why check your mirrors?
  • There hasn't been any explanation why the mirrors need checking?
  • No doubt the driver has sailed on with ease and looked in the mirror 7 times during this exercise and has come away from this lesson feeling quite proud of their use of mirrors

Or have they?

  • There's obviously a reason behind the Driving Instructor's constant emphasis on mirrors
  • But what is it?

Why before signalling?

(imagine you're driving)
  • Imagine you're going to turn into your own driveway
  • Does the driver behind you know where you live?
  • If they do and they already know you are going home then they are ready for you to turn into your driveway
  • What if they don't know where you live?
  • Then the sooner you check your mirror the sooner you can tell the driver behind you
  • Why not give the driver behind you time to easily respond?
  • You can apply the logic to turning left or turning right

Why before changing direction?

(imagine you're driving)
  • You've decided that the right hand lane is a better option because you are going to turn right at the traffic lights ahead
  • Check your mirror well before you decide, a driver coming up fast behind you may have already decided to overtake you in your preferred lane
  • You might be sat in a traffic queue and waiting to turn right, is a biker about to overtake you?
  • You might decide to duck out of slowing moving traffic and take the next turning on the left, is a cyclist about to undertake you?

Why before changing speed?

(imagine you're driving)
  • This is where we get most confused
  • We all think this tends to refer to slowing down
  • The options below explain why both are important

Why before slowing down?

(imagine you're driving)
  • So you've seen ahead of you a large lorry reversing into a small service area
  • Look in your mirror now!
  • What is the driver behind you doing?
  • On the phone?
  • Looking in a shop window?
  • Tell the person behind you as early as you can
  • Wake them up!
  • Show them a brake light and encourage them to start to slow down earlier
  • Give them more time to react!

Why before speeding up?

(imagine you're driving)
  • Just before you accelerate think about what's happening behind you
  • Is the driver behind you just about to overtake you?
  • If they are then let them pass
  • Don't accelerate
  • If you do you can cause a danger by leaving the other driver in a dangerous position on the wrong side of the road

Imagine you never use your mirrors?

(imagine you're driving)

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