Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. Can I Use the Rearview Mirror to Drive in Reverse?

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

The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Malaysia
CraigBurrows / Shutterstock.com Malaysia is a popular destination for many tourists today. The country has amazing sights and attractions that you will want to explore....
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...
P0291OBD-II Trouble Code: Cylinder 11 Injector Circuit Low
P0291 code definition When your vehicle’s PCM registers the P0291 code, it means that a voltage reading came from the fuel injector circuit – for cylinder number 11’s fuel injector –...

Related questions

Q: How do I adjust the trailer towing mirrors?

Your car may be equipped with trailer towing mirrors that give you better visibility when you are towing long or wide loads. To put your mirrors in trailer towing mode, hold them with your hands, and rotate them counter-clockwise, such...

Q: How do you change the language on the rear view monitoring system?

In addition to providing you with a live video feed of the area directly behind your car to assist with backing out of parking spots and other situations where you need to use reverse, the rear view monitoring system also...

Q: How do I turn on the sun visor mirror light?

The sun visor mirror light will automatically turn on when the mirror is accessed.