Many people when driving normally do not use their mirrors anywhere near enough and in fact only use it to check themselves out. Mirrors were put into and onto cars so drivers could see what was around them and more importantly if anything was over taking them.

When talking to parents and partners of learner drivers I do point out that the most common mistake when taking a test is observations. This could be in 2 forms, either when performing or general driving. If someone is going to be practising with family and friends I ensure they know to keep an eye on whether the mirrors are being check properly.Do you know where your mirror blinds spots are?

From the very beginning a learner driver should be taught about the blind spots and whereto look before pulling away from the side of the road. I personally teach people to check all around including the 5 vital spots,

  • Left Blind Spot
  • Left Side mirror
  • Centre/interior mirror
  • Right mirror
  • Right Blind Spot

This way you know what is happening around the vehicle before you do anything.

The driving mirrors with blind spotsThe blind spots shown in orange on the diagram can be found by looking through the back side windows.

The red parts of the diagram show where the side mirrors may see and the yellow the vision from the interior mirror.

Remember this is not just a case of move your head to make it look like you are looking but actually take a look, you may be that odd person who does have a car coming and may not have seen it. 

Each individual manoeuvre will have different points that an examiner will want to see you check your observations and yes you guessed it, they are at the most dangerous points. e.g. when the nose of a car swings out when reversing around a corner or parallel parking.

When to check your mirrors can be another problem and will depend on your speedand what you are doing. If you are generally driving with no turns or junctions etc you will need to check your mirrors every few seconds. If you are turning you should use the following procedure,

  • Mirrors
  • Signal – Left or Right
  • Position – Position in the road
  • Speed – Slow down & Change down (is necessary)           
  • Look – Look into the junction/road   


The MIRRORS aspect of this should be in pairs, always the centre mirror followed by a side mirror. The LOOK is to ensure there is no hazards in the junction or road you are turning into.   

When moving out to go around parked vehicles you will need to check to ensure nothing is overtaking you but contrary to belief you do not always needto signal. The only time you need to signal is if you have someone following you and they could make use of it and when the signal is not going to confuse anyone. For instance you would not indicate when passing a parked car if there was a road on the right as drivers would not know if you were turning right or moving out.

You will learn more about observations and when/where to use your driving mirrors as part of one of the driving crash courses offered.  

Safe Driving!!!