It's possible to add an extra side-view mirror, but you might try our mirror adjustment method first.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Nov 01, 2002

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a stupid little question. My Honda Odyssey has a bad blind spot created by the B-pillar (I think that's what it's called -- the pillar behind the driver). It's caused me to have several near misses when trying to change lanes to my left. I've thought about buying one of those little, round, wide-angle convex mirrors to glue onto my regular side-view mirror on the left side. Will that solution work? Is there any good reason not to proceed that way? -- Gary

RAY: Yes, it will work, and no, there is no reason not to do it.

TOM: But before you do that, you might want to try one other thing. We've discovered that it's possible to set your three mirrors (rearview and both side views) so that they eliminate almost any possible blind spots.

RAY: For years, we'd been setting our side-view mirrors so they gave us a view of the back corner of our cars. This is the way it's been passed down from grandfather to father to us. But we finally discovered something very interesting. The back corner of the car never moves. It always stays in the same exact place. So there's really no reason to keep an eye on it.

TOM: And by moving the side mirrors farther out, you can line up all three of your mirrors so they have minimal overlap -- and you can see everything behind you and beside you.

RAY: Here's how to do it. Start by setting your rearview mirror as you normally would. Then, lean your head all the way to the left so it touches the driver's window. From that position, set your left side-view mirror so you can see the back corner of your car. Now lean the same distance the other way, and set your right side-view mirror the same way. Now, here's what happens.

TOM: When a car comes up behind you, you should first see it in your rearview mirror. But as it passes you (let's say on your left), you'll see it move to the left side of your rearview mirror. And as its left headlight disappears from your rearview mirror, it should instantly show up in your left side-view mirror. There should be no delay. It should slip from one to the other, so you can always see it.

RAY: If you're having trouble visualizing this, we've posted a diagram and instructions on our Web site, the Car Talk section of

TOM: After you make the initial rough settings, you might need to make some slight adjustments to your side-view mirrors to make everything line up perfectly. And pulling up next to a line of parked cars (to simulate another lane of traffic next to you) is a good way to do that.

RAY: Driving with the mirrors this way takes some getting used to. You have to learn to rely on your rearview mirror first. And you'll have to get used to what your side-view mirrors are now looking at.

TOM: But once you get used to it, you'll find that if there's no one in your rearview mirror, no one in your side-view mirror and no one immediately next to you, you can confidently change lanes without worrying about a blind spot.

RAY: Just don't do what my brother did. He was so intrigued by how well his three mirrors were working that he forgot to look forward, and he almost drove into the back of a manure truck.

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