Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Can I Use the Rearview Mirror to Drive in Reverse?

Rear view mirror

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.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch...
P2159 OBD-II Trouble Code: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2159 P2159 code definition Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance...


Related questions

Q: How does the vanity mirror on the passenger sun visor work?

The vanity mirror on the passenger side of your Accord is designed to provide better visibility than the basic mirror on the driver side sun visor. To use it, just: Fold down the sun visor from the roof Open...

Q: How does the rearview monitor work?

If your car is equipped with a rearview monitor, you have an important tool for increasing safety any time you back up your vehicle. The touchscreen in the center console is connected to a rear-facing camera that turns on whenever...

Q: How do I defog the side mirrors?

If equipped, your side mirrors will automatically defog when you turn on the rear window defogger.