One of the best safety tips I have ever been shown is how to get rid of the blind spots on my vehicles. Because of the nature of the job, there are many occasions where there is a need to get from one location to another in a fast but safe manner, whether it be responding to an accident with injuries or backing a fellow officer on a traffic stop. While operating in emergency mode and in heavy traffic I can trust my mirrors and feel more comfortable that the lane next to me is clear because I do not have any blind spots while driving.
I would urge drivers to pay attention to their rearview mirrors more, especially now that the use of cell phones and other gadgets is so predominant. It may save you from being rear-ended by someone texting on their phone and not watching the road. The emergency vehicles responding to a call for help will appreciate it as well.
To get rid of your blind spots, you will have to adjust your rearview mirror and your outside driver and passenger mirrors.
To start, sit with the seat adjusted properly for safe operation. Adjust your rearview mirror so you can see clearly out your rear window.
Next, with your back positioned against the seat, lean your head to the left, nearly touching the driver’s side glass, and look at your driver’s outside mirror. Adjust it outward to where you just see the rear corner or outside edge of the vehicle. There are so many drivers who drive with the mirrors adjusted so that all they see is the entire side of the vehicle. There is no need to look at your vehicle. Do the same thing with the passenger’s outside mirror by leaning over approximately the same distance you did for the driver’s side mirror and adjust that outside mirror the same to where you only see the rear corner or outside edge of the vehicle.
Congratulations! You have just gotten rid of any blind spots on this vehicle. To test this adjustment, drive in the right-hand lane and watch your rearview mirror for an approaching vehicle. The instant you lose sight of its left front headlamp in your rearview mirror, it should appear in your driver’s outside mirror; you are basically able to see the vehicle in both mirrors until it travels past your rearview mirror’s field of view.
This is not a replacement for turning your head and eyes, but it will assure you that you can see 360 degrees around your vehicle and know that if you have to change lanes quickly you can do so in a safe manner.
Finally, remember that even parked vehicles have blind areas or blind spots too. Kids often play around cars, so before you start up and back out of your driveway, take a quick look around your vehicle to make sure nothing is under or behind your wheels. Make it a point to walk the long way around to get into the driver’s seat. Those extra steps may save a child’s life.
If the Oklahoma Highway Patrol can be of assistance, call (918) 683-3256 for non-emergency situations, or if you need assistance while traveling on Oklahoma highways you can call *55 on a cell phone to be connected to the nearest Highway Patrol Headquarters. To view a complete list of the motor vehicle laws of the state of Oklahoma and other laws, go online to www.oscn.net.