how many times do you check your mirrors?

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Jun 8, 2009
New England
Inspired by 14accents "pet peeves while driving" I thought to ask the question.
I realize conditions make a difference.
How many times on average do you check your rear view mirrors per minute?
Don't know how many times, but between rearview and side mirrors, a lot.
I'm constantly scanning for possible dangers. Checking the mirrors is part of the process.
I use the "Constant Scan" method employed by pilots ... basically it's a system whereby you check the surroundings and the road ahead in a deliberate set of visual checks. So mine goes Road Ahead / Rearview Mirror and then alternating scans on the Right Mirror, Left Mirror. (RA > ReM >RiM > RA >ReM > LeM) and repeat.

Once set as a habit, it's nearly impossible to fail to perform.

Road Ahead is probably about 5~6 seconds, RearView Mirror is a 1~2 second glance, and Right Mirror about 2~3 seconds; Repeat with Left Mirror instead.

5 seconds + 1 second + 2 seconds = 8 seconds total /60seconds = 7.5 times per minute for the RearView Mirror
6 seconds + 2 seconds + 3 seconds = 11 seconds total /60seconds = 5.5 times per minute for the RearView Mirror

So 5.5~7.5 times per minute.

I never make a right turn at an intersection without shoulder checking for pedestrians, and always shoulder check when changing lanes.

As per the Motorcycle Safety Course, you are instructed to also always shoulder check right and left when coming to a stop (to check for motorists about to hit you from behind) which should give you the time to quickly move partly into the intersection in an adjoining lane. FYI on the road test for an MC license here, failing to perform that check is an automatic fail.

With regard to driving a larger vehicle, I always check the RearView mirror when approaching a Yellow to decide if I will stop or carry on (without accelerating but at road speed) and also when stopping for a Red or Stop / Yield situation.

You must make the effort to actually see versus "looking but not seeing".
Many times each time I'm driving to be aware of what's around me. But I hear some people only check them once to twice a year and then get a UMA!
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A lot. I scan the ditches more than I watch the road itself. To many people hit moose, deer, yotes or other animals that run out from the ditches.

I scan back and forth and include my mirrors with those scans.
Originally Posted By: TmanP
I'd say every ten seconds. Although I check the left mirror and the rearview mirror the most.

I'd say this is what I do.
Whenever I detect a change in something from my peripheral vision.

Never had an accident nor caused one yet
Well, after reading this, I feel like a [censored] driver.

If I'm on the interstate, and going a constant speed, I just watch what's ahead of me, and ahead on my right for the onramps.

The same, basically, for driving in town on roads with no lights. Unless the conditions require me to change speed, I just monitor in front of me.

If I'm in stop-and-go city traffic,, I check my rear anytime I'm coming to a stop - watching that the driver behind me is stopping, and just bracing for the chance of an impact. Maybe a full surrounding check every 20-30 seconds just to monitor what's behind me in case of a change up the road, I feel like I can reasonably know there are X cars behind me within a few hundred feet with checks of that interval.

If I need to change lanes, I'll scan all 3 + a look behind me over my shoulder, all with my necessary blinker on.

Hopefully I'm not alone, otherwise all of you are significantly better drivers.
Per minute? It is a constant thing for me. My eyes are always going from the road to one of my mirrors and back. I have had one accident in the 39 years I have been driving. It was caused by a road hazard. Not bad for driving with the So Cal idiots.
Originally Posted By: Johnny2Bad
You must make the effort to actually see versus "looking but not seeing".

Even with eye to eye contact they don't see. Sometimes on a motorcycle I will swerve towards them just to make sure. I've always thought a motorcycle license should come before a car license...and those who have done it that way are better car drivers, just from being more aware of their suroundings.
Honestly, I don't check my mirrors as often as I think I should. I have to be more careful, as I've came close to crashing a few times. Thank God nothing happened, though
Depends on the driving situation. Low/no traffic, not much mirror checking for me. The keys are to keep your eyes constantly moving and look ahead as far as you comfortably can. All a LOT easier said than done. My employer pounds "Smith System" into us.
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