Can I Use the Rearview Mirror to Drive in Reverse?

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It’s tempting to throw your car in reverse and back up using the rearview mirror to see where you’re going. DO NOT DO THIS! It’s very dangerous to use the car rear view mirror to drive in reverse. This mirror should only be used when driving forward, to see cars behind you. It can also be used to supplement backing up – providing you with a direct view right behind your car.

Why shouldn’t you use the mirror?

There are a couple of reasons that you should never rely on the rearview mirror to drive in reverse. However, the most important is this – it doesn’t give you a full field of view. It only shows you what is immediately behind your car. Even then, it doesn’t show you anything below the trunk lid. Typically, it’s about 30 to 45 feet from the car before you can actually see the pavement.

How to back up properly

In order to drive in reverse, you should do several things:

  • Check the rearview mirror to determine if there are people or vehicles directly behind you

  • Check the side view mirrors to determine if people or vehicles are moving toward you from either direction

  • Turn your head over your right shoulder and physically look behind you while backing up

Ideally, you’ll never drive in reverse farther than what it takes to get out of a parking spot. However, there will most likely be times when you have to go farther in reverse. In these instances, you’ll still need to actually turn your head over your shoulder after thoroughly checking all three mirrors.

What about a rearview backup camera?

Backup cameras have become very popular and are actually now mandated by law on new vehicles sold in the US. However, they’re not a cure-all. Even the best backup camera will not provide you with the field of view that you need for real safety. The best course of action is to use your rear view mirror and camera, as well as looking back physically, and limiting the amount of driving you do in reverse.


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Richard

15 years of experience
60 reviews
Richard
15 years of experience
Ford F-150 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Fremont, California
Excellent communicator, walked me through the fixes and even gave me an idea of what might be next on the fix list.
Dodge Grand Caravan - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Union City, California
quickly diagnosed the problem but knew it would take longer than appt time to fix. since we had appt the next day for brakes he rearranged his schedule to do it all together the next day. very knowledgeable, friendly, and professional.

Tung

14 years of experience
285 reviews
Tung
14 years of experience
Hyundai Elantra - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Mableton, Georgia
Very detailed and customer service oriented. Did an amazing job fixing my back brakes and even set-up a schedule of future appointments for my car!
Ram 1500 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Marietta, Georgia
Tung showed up on time and was very friendly. Changed my brake pads in about 30 minutes and gave me recommendations on when to change the rear pads. Will ask for him by name next time.

Horus

9 years of experience
103 reviews
Horus
9 years of experience
Land Rover Range Rover - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - San Antonio, Texas
Horace worked on my Land Rover today. Showed up on time and was professional and courteous. Replaced front and rear break pads. Great job!

Juan

11 years of experience
37 reviews
Juan
11 years of experience
Dodge Avenger - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Mountain House, California
Was very thorough in explaining the condition of the car and how the repairs will impact it’s service.

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