Hanging Masks from Rearview Mirrors: Hazardous not Helpful

by Gwen Newell

Wearing masks in public spaces will be required for much of the foreseeable future – and while hanging them from rearview mirrors has become quite the trend during this pandemic, it’s important to note that although it may seem like a convenient place to store your protective equipment, it can actually cause a safety hazard for all motorists and pedestrians.

AAA wants to remind motorists that hanging items from a rearview mirror, including protective masks, is in fact a safety hazard. With varying requirements about facial coverings in place, many motorists are keeping masks in their cars, and many are conveniently hanging them from their rearview mirrors as a way to keep them handy. This has the potential to partially block your field of vision, putting yourself and others in harm’s way.

It is key to be mindful of where you are storing your masks, and it is critical that when behind the wheel, you have a completely clear field of vision while driving. As an alternative, motorists should keep their masks in their glove compartments, middle consoles, or back seats to avoid this preventable hazard.

In the Carolinas, it is against the law to operate a vehicle with anything hanging or attached to the inside rearview mirror. It specifically states, ‘Objects may not be hung from the inside rearview mirror or attached in any other manner so as to materially obstruct, obscure or impair the driver’s vision through the front windshield, or which in any manner constitute a safety hazard.’

Moreover, in a typical city, a motorist encounters as many as 200 different situations per mile. The eyes provide nearly all of the information needed to respond to road conditions, traffic patterns, signals and signs. Obstructing this field of vision, even partially, can cause you to miss things that should be seen, such as signs, pedestrians, wildlife, motorcycles, bikes or other vehicles.

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