Mirrors on trucks are absolutely critical to vehicle safety while out on the road. Because most trucks do not have rearview mirror capabilities because they’re blocked by the large trailer they’re carrying behind them, they must be able to see plenty of the road using their side mirrors.
Mirrors help truck drivers to stay aware of everything that’s happening around them, which is vital for road safety and a key factor in drivers’ decision making. According to the FMCSA, “every truck shall be equipped with two rear-vision mirrors, one at each side, firmly attached to the outside of the vehicle.” There are very limited exceptions to this rule, so mirrors must be inspected regularly, especially in special situations.
The vast majority of semi trucks on the road use a combination of plane (flat) mirrors and convex (curved, also known as “fisheye,” “fogeye” or “spot”) mirrors. These mirrors are mounted on each side of the cab. Convex mirrors are especially important for these larger vehicles, as they offer a much larger view than flat mirrors. However, the plane mirrors are still necessary, because in a convex mirror, everything appears significantly smaller and, thus, farther away. Therefore, convex mirrors allow truckers to see more space behind them, while plane mirrors give them a better idea of how close the objects actually are.
Adjusting mirrors on a semi truck
Any necessary adjustments should be made to mirrors before the driver sets out on his or her trip. These adjustments should be made while the trailer is attached and straight, in order to give an accurate representation of what the driver’s view out the mirror will look like while on the road.
To perform this check, sit behind the steering wheel in normal driving position. The mirrors should be adjusted so you can see the truck’s body on their inside edge. You should be able to see the entire reflective surface of the mirror. You should also double check that the mirror has been securely mounted to the vehicle. Even if the mirror is only very slightly loose, tighten it before you head out, as the normal vibrations that occur while driving could distort the image in the mirror or even cause the mirror to loosen further.
Remember: mirrors should never be used to judge the distance between the vehicle and another object. If you are backing up, it’s better to get out and look at the area you’re backing into rather than just making your best guess about object proximity based on what you see in the mirror. You should always back up as slowly as possible to ensure your safety.
Finally, it is very important to keep your mirrors clean at all times. No adjustment can resolve the problems associated with a dirty mirror. You should always have supplies in your truck to make cleaning the mirrors a breeze in all types of weather conditions.
For more information about mirror maintenance and adjustments, contact K-Way Express, Inc., your trusted trucking company in Minnesota.