Skip to main content

In order to drive safely, you must be able to see what’s behind and beside you. With side and rear-view mirrors on your vehicle, you have a good visual range while driving. But what happens if you have a broken mirror or a mirror is missing from your vehicle? Can you still legally drive?

Legal requirements for mirrors

The laws governing vehicle mirrors vary by state. Most states do require at least two mirrors that allow you to see behind you. If that’s true for your state, you can legally drive the vehicle as long as two of your three mirrors are intact. While it may not be illegal, a police officer can still pull you over if they notice you have a broken or missing mirror.

While you can legally drive a car with two mirrors, can you do so safely? It depends on which mirrors are intact. It’s hard, for example, to get a view of the traffic on the passenger side of the car from the driver’s side with no side-view mirror.

What car mirrors do for you 

Each of your vehicle’s mirrors serves to keep you safe by allowing you to see what’s behind you or on either side of you while you drive. There’s a reason the law requires them. The views they provide help you avoid any potential accidents.

Rear-view mirrors

The rear-view mirror is an adjustable convex mirror designed to let you see through the rear window of your vehicle. They are typically affixed inside the front windshield. They often feature day and night positions to cut the glare of bright headlights at night that can impede your vision. They allow you to see what’s behind you while keeping your attention on the road.

Side-view mirrors

Side-view mirrors are outside of the car, attached to the driver and passenger doors. These mirrors are vital in helping drivers see what’s behind and beside them as well as what’s beyond the driver’s peripheral vision. They can also help view what’s in blind spots.

These mirrors are adjustable, and many side mirrors are power mirrors. You can adjust power mirrors easily using a simple electronic switch. The side mirrors are far more likely to sustain damage, loosen, or accidentally break off the car over time.

Why it’s important to replace missing or broken mirrors

While you can drive with a broken or missing mirror, it doesn’t mean you should. Without all three mirrors in place and in good condition, you’re not as safe while you drive. The side mirrors are most valuable because they show what’s behind your vehicle as well as what’s on either side.

To be as safe as possible, repair or replace missing or broken mirrors ASAP. In many cases, the repair is simple. If just the glass is broken or missing, the replacement can be done quickly at a reasonable price. If the actual housing on a side-view mirror breaks, or the entire power window unit must be replaced, the repair may take more time and cost more. But it’s definitely worth the effort and expense.