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Don’t Hang Things From Your Rear View Mirror

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My dad employed the “think out loud” approach when teaching my sister and me how to drive. With this, we both gained his perspective on how one should drive a car. One of his perspectives includes a reasonable outlook on objects hanging from the rear view mirror.

In a vehicle, moving objects are everywhere: people on the street, people in the vehicle, other vehicles, trees in the wind, birds in flight, and the vehicle you’re in. Why would you need to add another item to this list? And yet, some folks do.

The front windshield is a key part of driving: you need to see out of it so you don’t have to talk to anyone. If you don’t see out your windshield, you can hit someone, have to get out of your car, and talk to the other person(s). About exciting things like money, too! Why increase your chances of talking to strange people when you could just not put disco beads around your rear view mirror.

Hanging things from your rear view mirror distracts you, whether you think they do or not. My high school biology teacher used to tell us that our brains process sensory input, like a dangling necklace on the rear view, and can slow the brain’s reaction time. It seems reasonable, then, that something else moving in your line of sight while in a car can distract your brain, slowing your response time, and increasing the likelihood of injury in yourself and others.

When someone hangs something from their front windshield, they lose a part of their visibility. Who is behind that petal of my plastic lei from bae? Who knows? Certainly not the driver. Is that lei really more important than someone’s life? If you don’t see a pedestrian because the rainbow lei on your rear view is blocking them and you run them over, how would you feel? Does the lei mean more to you than the entirety of another’s existence? How would you feel if someone ran you over because you were in their “I don’t even notice it!” area of their front windshield?

I know people who hang items from their rear view. Even as a passenger I find it distracting and unnecessary. Yes, you learn to “ignore it,” such that you “don’t even see it anymore!” but the reality is that it is blocking your front windshield. I’ve seen giant placards, shiny necklaces, crystal ornaments, paper airplanes, rainbow lei’s, a collection of beaded necklaces, etc.

I know that a driver is much more than the status of their vehicle. However, I am more willing to be a calm passenger when I know the driver has their full attention on the road. I know I am a better driver with music and nothing hanging from my rear view. Be safe out there, and keep both eyes on the road (you never know what state the driver is coming from, or how wonderful a driver they are).

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Don’t Hang Things From Your Rear View Mirror