• Tom Fowler

Is it Illegal to Drive Without a Side View Mirror?

Updated: Feb 23

Seeing what is behind and beside your car helps you drive more safely. If your vehicle has one side mirror and rear-view mirror, you can have a tremendous visual range while on the road. However, if your side mirror is missing or broken, is it still legal to drive?


Generally speaking, side mirrors are vulnerable to accidental damage. That is because of their location; plus, they stick out of the car’s body.


In some instances, accidents can make one mirror dangle loosely from the car door or break it off. As a result, your side mirrors become defective for everyday driving.


If you have a broken or missing side mirror, you need to know if you can still legally drive. So, continue reading and find the answer!


States that require side mirrors

What States Require Side Mirrors?


The mirror laws that govern car mirrors vary from one state to another. In most states, drivers must have at least two mirrors to see what is behind them.


If that is the case in your state, you can drive your car as long as two of the three mirrors are intact.


Driving with it is not illegal; a law enforcement officer may pull you over if your mirrors are missing or broken.


To help you ensure you are not violating mirror laws, below are some states that require side mirrors on the vehicles.


Mississippi

This state requires the vehicle to have side mirrors if the view inside the car is blocked.


Utah

This state requires two mirrors on each vehicle. Ensure that one of them is a driver-side mirror.


Oklahoma

A vehicle should ensure that its car should have two mirrors located in the old dust bowl in Oklahoma. Ensure that one of the two mirrors is found on the left side.


Washington

The state law in Washington says that a car should have a side mirror. The mirror is either a center mirror or a right-side mirror.


Illinois

In Illinois, a vehicle must be installed with two side mirrors if the driver’s view from the center mirror or rear window is obstructed.


Iowa

Just like other states in the country, this state requires a car to have a passenger-side mirror if the main mirror is blocked, be it on modern cars or not.


North Dakota

The mirror laws in North Dakota about side view mirrors require the drivers to install a side mirror if their view in the center mirror is blocked. So, it is better to ensure an unobstructed mirror, particularly on blind spots.


Idaho

If the drivers have center mirrors that are not blocked, they do not need to install side mirrors in their cars, whether it is a new car or not.


Texas

Drivers living in Texas need to have one rearview mirror. If the view from the center mirror is blocked, then they are required to have side mirrors.


Vermont

The state law in Vermont says that drivers should have one rearview mirror in their car. Side mirrors are only required once the view from the center mirror is blocked, but never without a side mirror.


California

California requires drivers to install a left-side mirror whether they are new cars or not. They also need to have either a right-side mirror or a standard rearview mirror.


Is driving without a wing mirror illegal?

Is Driving Without a Wing Mirror Illegal?


Is your brake light or driver-side wing mirror broken? If so, you will find it hard or impossible to see the car's rear through that driver's mirror. Now, you may want to know if it's illegal to drive without a wing mirror.


The answer is yes. Driving is illegal if your car does not have two working mirrors, ensuring that one of them is on the driver’s side. After all, it is dangerous to drive without side mirrors and safety equipment. Meanwhile, it is legal to drive even without the passenger side-view mirror. However, you need to ensure that your car has an interior mirror and an offside wing mirror.


Is it Safe to Drive Without a Rearview Mirror?


For instance, you have a left-side mirror and a right-side mirror. However, you have accidentally broke or missed a rearview mirror or center mirror. So, can you still drive your car without getting into trouble with the law if you do not replace or fix it?


The answer to this question depends on the state you live in. Driving without a rearview mirror in some states is permissible. Maryland, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Kansas have accident laws requiring a driver to have a left-side mirror and either a center mirror or a right-side mirror. Meaning, driving without a rearview mirror is legal in these states as long as the car has a functional left side mirror.


Can I Drive My Car Without a Driver Side Mirror?


As mentioned earlier, the legality of driving without a driver's side mirror depends on the state you live in, similarly to driving without a front bumper. Several states require a car to have at least two side mirrors to ensure functionality. In contrast, other states allow the drivers to drive with one side mirror as long as it is complemented with rearview mirrors.


Some states require the left side mirror to be installed so that the driver's view of the highway is at least 200 feet (60.96 meters) clear. This driver's mirror also ensures that you have a clear view of other vehicles approaching from the left, rear side, or blind spot. So, having a rearview mirror is always critical, similar to when changing lanes.


Conclusion


The mirrors in your car are created and installed for good reasons. These mirrors and windshield wipers make you see beside and behind you and prevent road accidents. Driving legally with or without side mirrors differs from state to state. So, ensure that you know about your state laws so that a police officer won’t pull you over. The good news is that most states require either a center mirror or a right-side mirror, not on most vehicles, but all. However, you still need to check your state injury laws whether you have a broken side mirror or a missing mirror. Feel free to do it before going on the road.


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