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Remember when car safety meant just remembering to put on your seatbelt? Fast-forward to the present, and there are many safety concerns to worry about, including distracted driving. Anything that averts your attentive eyes from the road or inadvertently blocks your visibility is considered a driving hazard. But what about hanging your facemask from the rearview mirror?

You may have heard through online memes that hanging your mask from the mirror is actually illegal. But is it? Here are the rules about hanging facemasks from the rearview mirror and a few tips about where you should keep those facemasks instead.

Why do so many people hang protective facemasks from the rearview mirror

A face mask hanging from your rearview mirror.
A facemask hanging from a mirror | Getty Images

As most of the country and your daily routines return to normal, as in pre-pandemic conditions, you’re probably wearing a facemask less now than you were a year ago. But you know certain establishments and venues still require face coverings.

Because of this, most people keep at least one if not more facemasks in their cars just in case. As a reminder to put it on, they might even hang theirs from the rearview mirrorKRCG 13 reported that despite the recent trend of keeping a mask handy, it poses a safety risk when you do.

It’s not uncommon for motorists to hang things from their rearview mirrors. High school and college grads often dangle their celebratory tassels. Others hang small air fresheners, seemingly designed just for those windshield-mounted mirrors. But what about your mask? Should ever be hung on your mirror?

Is it illegal to hang your facemask from the mirror?

Most state driving laws ban or strongly discourage people from hanging anything substantial from the rearview mirror. Larger items, decorative or otherwise, can become a car safety issue should a driver’s view become obstructed. As Jerry points out, it’s probably best to check with your state’s individual statutes regarding any items dangling from the rearview mirror.

Hanging your facemask from the rearview mirror could be considered a visual obstruction in most states, warranting a ticket. For example, North Carolina and South Carolina made it illegal to hang anything from your rearview mirror, as AAA mentions in their Go magazine. In a quick-thinking driving situation, you don’t want a facemask to block your view and cause an accident, either.

Tips for where you should keep facemasks and other items safely

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It’s not just facemasks hanging from the mirror that could get you in trouble. Anything blocking your view through the windshield could be ticket-worthy, including placards and parking permits. And even those personality features you love to have in your car, like fuzzy dice, commemorative photos, and giant palm tree air fresheners, shouldn’t hang from your rearview mirror.

So, if you can’t legally keep your facemasks on the mirror, where can you put them? Consider keeping a mask or two tucked away in your glove box or center console compartment. And you might be able to loop your mask around a car vent or column stalk. Any covered gear shifters, preventing the risk of mask strings getting caught, could be great places to loop a facemask, too.

Wherever you keep a facemask in your car these days, it’s probably best to have one handy. Just remember not to hang one from your rearview mirror, especially if you live in a state where it could result in a ticket or, worse, obstruct your visibility and cause an accident.