How to set up your car mirrors correctly

Lesson Type
Last updated: 12 Nov 2019

Before you can get out on the road, you’ll need to make sure you’re in the right driving position and that you’ve got your mirrors adjusted correctly. Setting up your car mirrors will be one of the first things you’ll learn in your driving lessons and is part of the cockpit drill.

Making sure you adjust your car mirrors to the right position every time you get in the driver’s seat is crucial. Adjust your mirrors after you’ve got the correct seating position, as you’ll need to be in the right position before you can find the correct viewpoint in your mirrors. You need to ensure you’ve got a good view of everything that’s going on around you on the road, making sure each mirror is aligned correctly.

Interior rear view mirror

This is the mirror you’ll use to see what’s happening behind you. To adjust your rear view mirror, sit in your normal seating position and move the mirror until you can see the entire rear window. You should make sure you can only see a minimal amount of the car interior and that you can see the road behind you in the centre of the mirror.

When moving your mirror, try not to touch the glass as this could leave fingerprint marks on the glass which might obscure your view.

Right side mirror

When adjusting your right, driver side mirror, you should make sure the horizon is in the centre of the mirror. The horizon is the furthest point you can see, at which the road behind you disappears. Make sure you have a good view of any vehicles behind and to the right of you, and that you can only see a minimal amount of your own vehicle on the left hand side of the mirror.

Getting your correct side mirror positioning is very important, as you’ll rely on this mirror a lot, especially when moving off, joining the dual carriageway and overtaking.

Left side mirror

The same rules apply for the left mirror. Adjust it until you can see the horizon in the centre of the mirror, and a minimal amount of the side of your car in the right hand-side of the mirror.

Adjusting your left side mirror can be tricky if you don’t have electric controls from the driver’s seat. You must always adjust your car mirrors from the driver’s seat, because this is the view you will have when driving.

If you can’t adjust your left side mirror from your seat, move the mirror a little at a time, sitting in the driver’s side each time you do so to make sure the position is correct. You can also ask the person in the passenger seat to move the mirror for you whilst you guide them.

Adjusting your car mirrors on your driving test Before you set off on your driving test, the examiner will be looking for you to ensure that you’re in the correct seating position and that your mirrors are adjusted correctly. Before you start the engine, make sure you do all of your checks. If, at any point during the test, you realise your mirrors are in an incorrect position, pull over when safe to do so and correct them.

You should never attempt to adjust your car mirrors whilst you’re driving because this will distract you and can be very dangerous.

Blind spots

Blind spots are the areas around your car which you can’t see in your mirrors. Your blind spots will usually be beside and slightly behind your car, meaning any vehicle in that area won’t be visible to you in your mirrors. Our guide to blind spots shows you exactly where they are and how to check them.