Behind the wheel of a big rig, awareness is everything. Unlike a car driver, you have massive blind spots that can hide entire vehicles. That’s where your mirrors come in – your essential tools for maintaining a 360-degree view and ensuring a safe journey.

This blog is a reminder for all truckers on the importance of proper mirror use. We’ll cover everything from pre-trip checks to becoming a mirror-checking master.

Pre-Trip Mirror Check: The Foundation of Safety

Every trip begins with a thorough inspection. Here’s your mirror checklist:

  • Clean and Clear: Grime and dust can obscure vital details. Make sure all mirrors are spotless.
  • Secure and Adjusted: Check for loose fittings or vibrations that might misalign your mirrors. A misaligned mirror creates a false sense of security. Spend time adjusting them to eliminate blind spots and give you a clear view of the sides and rear of your truck.
  • Complete Coverage: Ensure you have all the necessary mirrors – two side mirrors, convex mirrors, and (depending on your truck) a spot mirror. Each plays a crucial role.

Mastering the Mirror Scan: A Habit for Safety

Checking your mirrors shouldn’t be an afterthought – it’s a continuous habit. Here’s how to integrate mirror checks into your driving routine:

  • The Glance, Not the Stare: Quick, frequent glances are key. Staring fixates your vision, making you oblivious to what’s directly ahead. Aim for checks every 5-8 seconds.
  • The Lane Change Check: This is non-negotiable. Before initiating any lane change, signal, then glance at your mirrors in this order: convex mirror, side mirror, blind spot (by physically checking over your shoulder), then back to the side mirror. This ensures a full picture of what’s beside and behind you.
  • Merging and Turning: Same principle as lane changes. Mirrors help you anticipate traffic flow and avoid cutting off smaller vehicles.
  • Backing Up: This is where your mirrors and convex mirror become even more crucial. Rely on them to navigate in reverse and avoid collisions.

Mirrors: Partners in Safe Driving

Remember, your mirrors are just one part of defensive driving. Always use turn signals, maintain a safe following distance, and be aware of your surroundings. But don’t underestimate the power of a well-timed mirror check. It can literally be the difference between a safe journey and a disastrous accident

Make checking your mirrors a constant habit. It’s a small action with a significant impact – a skill that keeps you, your cargo, and everyone on the road safe.

Where are the blind spots on a truck and bus? | Driver Knowledge Test (DKT)  Resources