Again, I apologize for being pretty much incommunicado during the past week. I was at the AJAC Test Fest, evaluating all the new cars and trucks to determine the Car and Utility Vehicle of the Year, and I just never seemed to find the time.
And yes, I recognize I used that photo before...
I must have driven about 50 cars during the week. All my colleagues were doing the same thing. And in all except one of the vehicles I got into, the side-view mirrors were adjusted incorrectly.
As regular readers know, there is no such thing as a 'blind spot' if your side-view mirrors are adjusted far enough outwards.
But only one of all of the previous drivers of these vehicles had done this right.
This 'crank your mirrors out' thing isn't just something I made up. Virtually every advanced driver training program in the world teaches this technique.
It isn't merely 'opinion' either. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) produced a paper several years ago, proving geometrically that this is the only way to do it.
Yes, it takes some getting used to.
But so does driving a car.
This is a fundamental issue. There is no room for argument here.
So, why aren't my colleagues doing it correctly?
I have no idea.
Unless the car itself doesn't allow the mirrors to be adjusted far enough out. Several Mercedes-Benz models at Test Fest suffered from this. For a company which prides itself on safety, this is inexcusable.
While I'm on my soap-box, very few of the test cars I saw driving in and out of the parking lot had their full headlights on - they were relying only on Daytime Running Lights which, in the vast majority of cases, do not illuminate the taillights.
It was cloudy, gloomy and raining for much of this week, exactly the type of weather where taillights are perhaps even more critical for being visible than headlights.
Come on, people. Full lights on, all the time.
Nothing else makes sense.
And finally, every single car under review at Test Fest was backed into its parking space by the event's organizers, because it is unquestionably the safest way to do it.
Unless it's a 'pull-through' spot - and there were none here - you either have to back in to the spot when you arrive, or you have to back out when you leave. It takes anyone with half a functioning brain cell only about half a second to figure that backing IN is the only way to do it.
When you drive past the spot, you can see it's clear, and you can back in safely.
More important, when you have to pull out, you have full visibility of what's coming towards you - backing out into unknown traffic is obviously more dangerous.
So the test cars were all parked correctly.
And with only one exception I spotted - a red Range Rover Sport on Wednesday; you must know who you are - every test car was backed in to its spot when the journalist returned it.
But in the parking area where the journos parked their own cars, I'd say over half of them were driven frontwards into their spots.
At the end of the day, they had to back out into traffic, which often included the golf carts which were ferrying us around the property.
Even with the examples right in front of them all day long, most were STILL doing it wrong.
Come on, people.
We know many of our readers/viewers have not learned these techniques, largely because they have never been properly taught how to drive.
But we automotive journalists are supposed to be the experts.
Why aren't we setting the best examples in all aspects of driving?