Clay Petersen, Staff Writer

When driving down the Alaska roadways, one is very likely to come across a truck towing a trailer. Many vehicles are equipped with specialty tow hitches and lights, as well as retractable tow mirrors. These tow mirrors are meant to widen the view for the driver, so he/she is able to see around the load. If a vehicle is seen using its tow mirrors without towing, it might as well be run off the road. 

There are three main types of towing mirrors. Permanently-mounted mirrors are attached to the vehicle and act as a secondary mirror to the main wing mirrors.  You usually see these on big-rigs attached to the front hood or fender. There are also clip-on mirrors, these can be bought at auto parts stores and their purpose is to make regular wing mirrors wider to make them more adept for towing. The third and most common kind of towing mirrors are extendable mirrors. These can be folded or pulled out to become wider and good for towing, but can then be pushed back in to act as regular wing mirrors for the 90% of the time people aren’t towing. 

Extendable mirrors are very common on pickup trucks, especially the ones marketed as heavy duty. They can come with a “tow package,” and you would have to be a fool not to get one! These extendable mirrors have an extensive list of pros, as they allow the driver to keep a better eye on the load he is towing. The ideal way to use tow mirrors is to flip/pull them out after hooking up to a trailer, use them, then flip/push them back in when you’re done.

This isn’t a big deal for most as they only tow a trailer a dozen or so times a year. But for some reason, SOME PEOPLE, feel the need to leave their towing mirrors folded out 24/7/12. They never fold them in! People drive around in their trucks year-round acting like they are TOWING SOMETHING.

It is most notable when a Dodge truck has its towing mirrors flipped out, as they pivot and are turned 90 degrees upwards when in the out position. Given this fact, Dodge seems to get the most hate for having idiotic drivers who don’t understand when they are and are not towing. 

However, I think that it is equally as common with all the brands of pickup trucks. Ford and Chevrolet seem to have just as many drivers who either a) pulled out their mirrors and can’t figure out how to pull them back in, or b) took so long trying to get them to come out in the first place, they refuse to push them back in fear they’ll never come out again.

Maybe, these few individuals who refuse to confine themselves to society’s common sense are onto something. Maybe, they aren’t in the wrong at all. It is possible that these few frivolous beings are actually towing something! It might just be invisible! Or maybe, they are towing around what few scraps of a shredded ego they have left. In hopes that maybe, just maybe, it will come back and turn into something again. 

Maybe these are the same people who drive trucks that are lifted 600 feet in the air that get labeled by most folk as “the compensator.”  It is a genuine possibility that there are thick-skulled people on this earth who see flipped-out towing mirrors as a mating call to their preferred gender.

Nonetheless, towing mirrors are just a pebble in the quarry of things that are used and abused in ways that they were never designed for. Whether it’s people towing invisible trailers (watch out), or a mating call from dim-witted men, tow mirrors remain extended from their trucks like the hands of drowning children saying Help Me.