BDD can cause accidents. Janet had several of them. “I’m a mirror-driven person,” she said. “I check all the time. The worst part of it is I check in the rearview mirror while I’m driving. A few years ago I had a car accident because I was looking in the mirror instead of the road.” Many others describe near misses. “I check the rearview mirror, trying to reassure myself,” a salesman told me. “I almost hit a tree once, and I almost ran over someone.” Some people, trying to stop this behavior, turn the rearview mirror away from them, or remove it altogether, but then can’t see what’s behind them—another setup for an accident. Others check a pocket mirror while driving instead of looking at the road.
One woman repeatedly hurt her back while bending into pretzel-like positions to obtain a better look in the mirror. She wasn’t satisfied with a standard view—she needed to get an even closer look at a small scar on the side of her neck. Another person fell off a 3-story ladder while examining his reflection in a window.