To drive safely, you need to know what the road is like in front of, next to, and behind your car. With side view mirrors, you can see what is next to you and further back. Rearview mirrors let you see what’s behind you without turning your head.
Sometimes, one or both of your side-view mirrors may be broken or missing. If you drive around in such a car, you might start to wonder if it’s legal to do so.
In some states, you can drive without a side mirror if the rearview mirror is big enough for you to see well. But in most states, a car can only be driven on the road if it has at least two of the three mirrors. And one mirror has to be put on the left side of the car.
All cars must have side and rearview mirrors, according to federal rules.
But the rules only apply to the people who make cars, since each state has different rules about how many and where mirrors need to be for safe driving.
Some states, like Maine, Massachusetts, and Mississippi, require that every car or truck have at least one mirror that lets the driver see the side and back of the car clearly.
Read on to find out if it’s legal in your state to drive without a side mirror.
Is Driving Without a Side Mirror Safe?
Whether or not it’s safe to drive without a rearview mirror depends on whether or not you have other ways of seeing what’s behind your car in real time.
Most side mirrors give you a view of what’s behind your car for about 200 feet. When it comes to cars with rearview cameras, things are a little different. Using the live feed from these vehicles’ rearview cameras makes it easy to move around.
Also, it’s not clear how safe it is to drive a car without side mirrors. It depends on your skills and the condition of the road. It’s pretty easy to drive without a side mirror on roads with little traffic.
If you’re an experienced driver and you’re driving on the highway, you only need one of the mirrors to keep you safe.
Missing all three mirrors, on the other hand, is dangerous and should never be tried. You won’t be able to easily pass because you won’t be able to tell which car is already in your lane and behind you.
Also, it’s hard to switch lanes without side mirrors when you’re close to an exit.
Is It Illegal to Drive Without a Rear View Mirror?
Can you get in trouble for driving on the road with a car that has two side mirrors but no rearview mirror?
Depending on which state you’re driving in, the answer is both yes and no. Some states have loose rules about having rearview mirrors and where they should be placed.
For example, Missouri’s law on vehicle mirrors says, “All motor vehicles which are so built or loaded that the operator cannot see the road behind such vehicle by looking back or around the side of such vehicle shall be equipped with a mirror so adjusted as to reveal the road behind and be visible from the operator’s seat.”
You can read the law to mean that you don’t need a rearview mirror as long as you can turn your head and see what’s behind you.
But that’s a mistake, because it’s against the law in Missouri to drive without a rearview mirror.
State Rear and Side View Mirror Laws
Different states have different rules about side and rearview mirrors.
Even though federal law says that all new cars must have all three mirrors, each state has different rules about how many mirrors you need before you can drive.
In Alabama, you can drive on the road as long as your car has at least one mirror that doesn’t get in the way of other drivers.
Some states, like Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, and New York, require that all cars have both side mirrors and rearview mirrors.
States That Require Both Left and Right Side Mirrors
In some states, both side mirrors must be on every car.
New York City
Some states require both side mirrors on cars where the rearview mirror is hard to use because of how the car is built. Buses and tow trucks are examples of these vehicles.
Here is a list of the states that require buses and vehicles that pull trailers to have side mirrors.
The state of North Carolina
States That Require at Least One Mirror
Here is a list of the states where there are no strict rules about where your car’s mirrors must be placed.
As long as one of the side mirrors or the rearview mirror works, it’s legal to drive.
Here’s a list of the states:
States That Require at Least Two Mirrors
Some states require that all cars on their roads have either both side mirrors or one side mirror and the rearview mirror.
Here are all the states.
States That Require All Vehicles to Have a Rearview Mirror
Some states require that all vehicles have a rearview mirror in addition to one or both sideview mirrors.
Different states and cities have very different rules about driving and traffic.
If you are driving through more than one state or city, you should know some traffic laws just to be safe.
Also, it doesn’t hurt to have all of your car’s mirrors installed.
But if you recently broke one of your mirrors or changed your car so that one or two of the three mirrors don’t work, you need to know the rules of the road.
Safety is the most important thing, and it is very dangerous to drive without three mirrors.