Hands up who adjusted their mirror for the Driving Test, so the examiner could see you moving your head to check the mirror?

I bet someone told you to do that before your Driving Test, or you may know someone who did this.

When I was assessing drivers in-vehicle, they often did just that and when I challenged them to explain why they always said, “I did it so you can see I’m checking the mirror”.

If you look at any examiner/assessor marking sheet it, you will see it says “making effective use of the mirrors”

I was often challenged when I would mark down someone on mirror use. They would say, “Didn’t you see me checking the mirrors, I was doing it all the time”. My reply was always, ‘yes you were, but you weren’t making effective use of them’.

So, what does it mean by ‘effective use’?  Let’s look at one example:

A driver is checking his/her mirrors like a nodding dog until they notice a few school children on the pavement pushing and shoving each other, at which point they focus all their attention on the children. As they get nearer to the kids, a child is pushed into the road. They are then forced to do an emergency stop, the car behind drives into the back of them shunting them towards the child, but the driver manages to avoid them due to quick reactions.

Are you making ‘effective use of the mirrors?’ The answer is NO.

Now let’s go back a few steps. You are driving and notice the children, your first reaction is to see what’s going on behind you. On checking your mirror, you notice a vehicle either; too close behind, coming up fast or that the driver keeps looking down towards the passenger seat, so isn’t concentrating, what should you do next?

There are two things you should do, (a) slow down slowly so the driver behind doesn’t have to stop ‘suddenly’ and (b) position further to the right (if possible) providing more space from you and the children.

Making ‘effective use of the mirrors’ isn’t about how many times you check them; it’s about reacting to what you see in them.

‘Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre’ : we all remember that from of driving lessons, but in reality, most drivers do Manoeuvre, Signal and check the Mirrors sometime next week!

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