Mirrors right and wrong

I was driving back from our Florida vacation and had a bunch of crap piled up in the back of our hatchback blocking the rearview mirror.  I was un-aware of how frequently I checked the rearview mirror until it became useless to me.  Then I continued to check it several times a minute for the first 10 minutes or so of the drive, even though I might as well have been glancing at my phone.

This necessitated my adjusting my sideview mirrors.

Long ago I listened to Car Talk and the Tappert brothers advised me that the way most people adjusted their side mirrors was wrong.  There is a better way, but it’s hard to describe on the radio, so they said you should go to their website.  I was of course riding in my car when they said this, and didn’t get around to checking their website for about 15 years.

The jist of it is you probably have your mirrors pointed too far back which is overlapping with the rearview mirror.  This gives you redundent information at the sacrifice of what you really need to know when checking a side mirror: “Is someone beside me?”

So I have turned my sidemirrors out so I can no longer see my own car in them, and can barely see the stripe for the lane I’m in.  This is less far than they recommend, but when I tried it their way the motion in the mirror was constantly whizzing by in a way that was distracting to me.  If you google “how to adjust side mirrors” the recommendation they give is the conventional one, which is no longer endorsed by the Society of Automotive Engineers.

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Car and Driver’s explanation of my mutterings

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