49er Driving School 

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49er Driving School

Mailing Address: 1851 Earl Ave, San Bruno, 94066

(650) 400-9801




 The SECRET in 7  Easy Lessons

 LIKE MOST CONCEPTS concerning how to drive, the use of the mirrors and how to adjustment them, were crystalized by the end of the fifties.  In this sense, the methodologies became habitual and were passed on to future drivers simply because they were riding around and observing their chauffers. But there was no real teaching involved, just absorptivity starting around age three.  This is why perhaps, I have never seen The Secret  in print before. The Secret is however, and by a wide margin I shall add, a better way to adjust and use the mirrors than what the majority of drivers had gradually absorbed. This in turn translates to far greater safety than what has been the standards for the last fifty years.  So let's begin ..


Begin by adjusting the driver's seat. Otherwise, if you move the seat after you set the mirrors  you will have to readjust them. Now then, start with the inside rear view mirror, the one attached to the windshield.  Look into it and think of the view as a picture and the mirror is the frame.  Move the "frame" until the picture is perfectly captured.

Then adjust the outside mirrors so the view is horizonal with the plane of the road (not up in the air or down towards the ground) and that it begins from the edge of the vehicle sides.  If it has protruding door handles, then just see their tips rather than the whole handle.  If your handles are flush with the sides, try to not see any of the vehicle unless you tilt your head a half inch towards the mirror.  Remember, a half inch is this far______. Take as much time as necessary to get it just right while sitting in your normal driving position.    


979 times out of 1,000 the answer I get is cars or vehicles.  20 times it's motorcycles, and the odd one is; "to see who's following me!"

Obviously, everyone is looking for something. Let this sink in, everyone is looking for something.  98% have a pre-conceived expectation that they will see a vehicle. The correct answer should be ... nothing!   Expecting nothing allows the student to stop looking in the mirror sooner and return their attention to the front. The perfect look is really a glance that takes less than a second to accomplish.  When however, you are looking for something and you find it, you will keep looking at it because, subconsciously, you want to bring it into focus.  When there's nothing there, however, the 
tendency is to turn your head further until you can see the vehicle you just saw in the mirror(s).  Both of the above results will take at least a second longer than necessary, which is counter productive, as the objective of checking the mirrors is to glance, rather than look, for ... nothing.

SO .. the 1st. Lesson is to Glance in the mirrors.

That being said, most of the time you will see at least one vehicle, and often there will be several, especially when driving in an urban area.  In all cases you want to quickly determine two things; the relative distance and speed between the two of you. Are they very close, moderately close, or not too close; and who is going faster?  Time wise, the goal is to do this in 1.2 seconds or less.

2nd. Lesson:  Check relative Speed and  Distance within 1.2 seconds.

Nearly every driver in America believes the most important factor is the relative distance between the two of you.  Not so!  Consider this: If you accidently cut off a vehicle that is only a foot behind you while both of you are going exactly 40 miles per hour; how long would it take before that vehicle catches up and hits you?  Of course its a silly question because it can never hit your car as long as you both continue driving at 40 MPH.  But I can assure you that if you ever make this mistake, the other driver will either have a stroke or will immediately hit the brake and pull back suddenly.   

3rd. Lesson:  You can change lanes in front of any vehicle that's visible in the inside rear view mirror when your speed is at least equal to them.

Most four-door passengers cars are configured in such a way that you will be at least three car lengths (40 to 50 feet) ahead of any vehicle in the lane that you plan to change into.  If you're driving a two-door model, figure a minimum of 2 1/2 car lengths (approximately 33 to 44 feet). In all cases, this is enough room to make the change if you are going at least the same speed as the other vehicle. *

4th. Lesson:  If the vehicle in the inside mirror is faster than you, try to match its speed if you can do so safely*

5th. Lesson:  Check outside mirror for a vehicle that isn't visible in the inside mirror.  If there is one and your speed is;
equal - then speed up when safe, until you can see them in the inside mirror;*
but ...
if they are faster, wait until they pass you.

6th. Lesson: When it is safe according to the 5 lessons above, check the blind spot for any activity that wasn't visible in the mirrors.*

7th. Lesson:  Change lanes smoothly when you see .. NOTHING in the blind spot area!

* The greater chance of having an accident while changing lanes is, you will run into someone in front of you, because of being too preoccupied with the traffic behind you, creating a secondary problem of looking away from the front too long.  Safe lane changing requires an awareness of what is going on in front of you in accordance with the first step of the

 Triangle of Safety 


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