Driving Lessons Microlearning – Mirrors
If you want to continue learning to drive during lockdown then check out our microlessons starting with driving lessons microlearning – mirrors. We’ve mashed up some great subjects into bite-sized chunks. Microlearning deals with relatively small learning units over shorter time frames. Instead of chomping your way through the whole cake, try taking bite-sized nibbles more frequently.
If you fancy a longer read, take a look at our driving lessons the Essential guide here!
It’s really easy, just spend 5 minutes on driving lessons microlearning – mirrors – Then you can go back to watching Netflix!!!
Driving Safely Using Mirrors
If your learning to tow a caravan or driving a larger vehicle like a lorry or a bus they may have different types of extended mirrors. For our lessons, we’re just looking at car mirrors.
(Q1) Why do cars have mirrors?
- You use them when reversing so you don’t have to turn around in your seat to look behind.
- To help you make safe and sensible decisions, based on the position and speed of other traffic behind you.
- Mirrors are great, you can make sure your hair or your make up is looking tip-top before arriving at your destination.
(A) Hopefully you answered 2. Here’s the official Highway code info.
Most cars will have three mirrors. A main or central mirror and two side mirrors (nearside or passenger side mirror and offside or driver side mirror).
We’re going to start with the main or center mirror.
The main or interior mirror will usually be made from flat glass and is fixed onto the inside of your windscreen. It will show you what’s directly behind you. Setting the mirror correctly is very important and, if done right, will maximize your vision of the road behind.
Setting Up The Mirrors
(Q2) How do you set your centre mirror up correctly to get the best view behind?
- It’s probably best to get your passenger to do it as they’re more experienced than you.
- Lean forward and sett it up yourself, you’re the driver!
- Sit back in your normal driving position and adjust it with your left hand.
(A) 3 – Wait until you have set your seat up for driving then adjust your centre mirror from your driving position. Imagine the outside rim of the mirror as a border of a picture or painting and try to frame the back window perfectly. Try not to put any sticky fingers on the glass when you adjust it too!
Top Tip – Try to keep your mirrors as clean as you can. A spotless mirror can see up to 50% more than a dirty or dusty mirror!!
(Q3) Why is the centre mirror made from flat glass and what benefits does this have over concaved or convexed (curved) glass.
- Flat glass gives you a true view of how far a vehicle is behind you.
- The flat glass will reduce glare from other drivers’ headlights at night.
- Flat glass is miles easier to clean than curved glass.
(A) 1 – Flat glass will give you an accurate view of the distance of the vehicle behind you. Regular and sensible mirror checks will allow us to make decisions about how we drive taking into account the following traffic. For example, breaking earlier and more gently if someone follows closely behind you.
(Q4) Why does the centre mirror have an adjuster to dip the mirror down?
- By dipping the mirror you can see what your back seat passengers are up to.
- At night the glare from headlights can dazzle you. Dipping the mirror reduces this effect.
- Dipping the mirror allows you to clean the back of the mirror unit.
(A) 2 – Vehicles at night time can dazzle you with their headlights, especially if they are on full beam. Dipping the mirror reduces glare from following vehicles. Some modern cars have auto-dimming or a button to press instead of tilting the mirror. Here’s a great video if you’re wanting more info!
Let’s have a look at the mirrors outside the car now!
Most vehicles on the road these days have two side mirrors. One on the nearside or passenger side of the car and one on the offside or driver side. Side mirrors are used to see what is to the sides of your vehicle and can be very useful when changing directions left or right.
Type Of Glass
(Q5) What type of glass do side mirrors have?
- Flat glass giving a true view of what’s behind you.
- Concaved or dish like, giving a larger picture and making things seem closer than they are.
- Convex or dome-like, giving a smaller picture a wider field of vision making things look smaller and further away.
(A) 3 – Your side mirrors are made from convex glass which is slightly curved. Convex glass gives you a wider field of vision and will allow you to see further out to the sides. The problem is, vehicles will seem further away than they actually are. Just remember if you see something to the side of you in your side mirror it’s actually closer than it looks.
(Q6) How much vision do the side mirrors provide around your vehicle?
- The side mirrors will show you everything that the centre mirror does not cover.
- The side mirrors are pretty rubbish and not worth even looking at.
- Although very useful in seeing some areas to the side of your vehicle, the side mirrors do have blind spots and will not cover every angle.
(A) 3 – Side mirrors, even with their convex glass do not cover every angle. There will still be blind spot checks needed now and then to keep things safe. Have a look below at the field of vision covered by all the mirrors and more importantly the areas not covered. Do you see that the blue and brown cars are completely out of view if the driver is using only their mirrors!
Driving Lessons Microlearning – Mirrors
Let’s take a look at what mirror to use and when you might check it.
- Before slowing down – If a vehicle follows close behind, you may want to break earlier and more gently to avoid a rear-end collision.
- Before speeding up – After emerging onto a new road if a vehicle approaches quickly from behind. It may just give you enough time to get on the gas and push up to a safe sensible speed.
- When you notice a hazard ahead – Approaching a hazard with a vehicle following closely behind you is asking for trouble. If you need to stop suddenly the vehicle behind could hit you. Ease off and approach even slower than you normally would, giving the driver behind more time to react in an emergency.
- Check before signaling (indicating) – If a cyclist or motor vehicle is coming up next to you an indicator could startle them. Especially on a fast dual carriageway or motorway when changing lanes.
- After emerging from a junction – Check vehicles are not overtaking you before you speed up. If you speed up the overtaking driver will not be able to get back to their side of the road.
- Moving out to the right and left around obstructions etc – Using your side mirrors to check next to you before moving left or right will stop any side on collisions with anything moving up next to you. Moving out around parked cars, roadworks, bus stops with busses parked in them, and lane switches for example.
- Parking on the side of the road – Checking for cyclists on the left or if parking on the right, overtaking vehicles or cyclists before pulling up close to the curb.
These are just some of the main times you would use your mirrors. To find out more why not book a lesson here.
Using your car’s mirrors must be a regular part of your everyday driving. Regular and sensible mirror checks are vital to keeping things safe on the road. Checking your mirrors before you signal or change speed or direction will develop your defensive driving skills and make allowances for what traffic behind you or to the sides are doing.
Please comment below if you can think of any times you may check the mirrors that are missing from the list above. Call us on 07838166663 to book a driving lesson for the end of lockdown.