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   Undertoad  Saturday Jun 9 11:32 AM

June 9, 2012: Better driver's side mirror



It's an easy question: which mirror would you rather have as your side mirror? The standard one, which shows a field of view of about 17 degrees... or the one above it, which shows a field of view of 45 degrees?

Now let's say there's a cement mixer in your "blind spot". Which one now?

Dr. R. Andrew Hicks of Drexel worked out how to get a wider field of view in a mirror, without the usual distortion of the convex "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear" mirror. Look at the silver car in both views to see what a difference this is. It would take some getting used to but I imagine the wider field would be much better.

The problem is, it's current illegal to install such a mirror in most countries including the US. Innovation illegal... oh well, who needed it anyway.



zippyt  Saturday Jun 9 11:47 AM

the wider view obviously ,
I all ways put small fish eye mirrors on our cars



BigV  Saturday Jun 9 05:28 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertoad View Post
snip--

The problem is, it's current illegal to install such a mirror in most countries including the US. Innovation illegal... oh well, who needed it anyway.
From your link:

Quote:
In the United States, regulations dictate that cars coming off of the assembly line must have a flat mirror on the driver's side. Curved mirrors are allowed for cars' passenger-side mirrors only if they include the phrase "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear."

Because of these regulations, Hicks's mirrors will not be installed on new cars sold in the U.S. any time soon. The mirror may be manufactured and sold as an aftermarket product that drivers and mechanics can install on cars after purchase.
Cool idea.


xoxoxoBruce  Sunday Jun 10 12:20 AM

It took me a lot of years to discover I shouldn't be able to see the side of my own vehicle in either side mirror when driving. I can move my head, or the mirror, if I have to back into a tight spot.



CaliforniaMama  Sunday Jun 10 12:55 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce View Post
It took me a lot of years to discover I shouldn't be able to see the side of my own vehicle in either side mirror when driving.
A few years ago I came across a formula for adjusting the side mirrors. On the driver's side, if I remember correctly, you lean your head against the window and adjust the mirror until you see the side of your vehicle. That puts it in just the right spot so that when you are sitting normally your blind spot is no longer blind.


Clodfobble  Sunday Jun 10 02:14 PM

I've always adjusted based on the "blind spot" itself. Sit normally and look in the rear view mirror. Take the furthest item you can see on the left, and adjust your driver's side mirror so that you can barely pick that item out on the far right of your side mirror's field. This is visual confirmation that there is overlap, hence no blind spot. And unless your peripheral vision is below average, you should have no problem seeing with your actual eyes anything that is beyond the left field edge of your side mirror, in this position.



SPUCK  Tuesday Jun 12 06:23 AM

How can your mirror do anything for you without the spatial reference of the side of your vehicle in view?

How do you know it's not pointed two lanes over?

When backing up how can you tell where your vehicle body is?



classicman  Tuesday Jun 12 11:08 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by SPUCK View Post
How can your mirror do anything for you without the spatial reference of the side of your vehicle in view?
The mirror begins where your car ends. It's the most ideal position. There is no point in watching your own car. By then you've already hit whatever it is you were trying not to impact.
Quote:
When backing up how can you tell where your vehicle body is?
It's right where it always is and always has been. With this setting a slight lean and you can see your car if you want.


BigV  Tuesday Jun 12 01:13 PM

Note to any drivers here with less experience:

There's no mirror system, no camera system, nothing that can adequately replace TURNING YOUR HEAD TO LOOK at your blind spot before you change positions in traffic. All this folderol about the most perfectest alignment of your mirror is fine, as long as you look where you're going before you go there.

That is all.



Rhianne  Tuesday Jun 12 05:05 PM

I'll have to look next time I go outside, I'm not even sure my car has mirrors. I usually want to see where I'm going, not where I've been.



Aliantha  Tuesday Jun 12 07:22 PM

I'm with V. If you don't turn your head to check your blind spot you're asking for trouble. The number of times it's saved me from sideswiping someone is amazing. I do a lot of highway driving, hence the need to check the blindspot and all my mirrors constantly. And by constantly, I mean I do a mirror check about every 5 to 10 seconds and never change lanes without turning to double check there's no one there, or not someone moving over from the further lane into the spot I'm going to take etc.



Wombat  Tuesday Jun 12 07:41 PM

In the UK it's common for the driver's side mirror to be flat for the inner two-thirds and curved (like Dr Hicks' mirror) for the outer one-third. It's like having one of those stick-on fish-eyes only better.

I agree that there's no substitution for a proper head-turn to check the blind spot before any lane change or other manoeuvre.

I am concerned that there are some elderly drivers who are not physically capable of turning their head far enough to do a proper blind-spot check, and consequently I wonder whether they are competent to drive.



monster  Tuesday Jun 12 07:43 PM

So, all this blind spot malarkey aside, why is such a huge field of rear view desirable? You only need to see the lane of traffic immediately to the side of you unless you're recreating The Italian Job. Wouldn't more to see add to the ever-increasing list of distractions that keep you from looking where you are going?

/devilsadvocate



BigV  Tuesday Jun 12 08:20 PM

now you're working for the devil? You are hard to keep up with!

Perhaps it is so the same field of view can be presented with a dramatically smaller mirror, thereby reducing the frontal area of the vehicle and the consequent air resistance.

/assistant to the advocate of the devil



Rhianne  Tuesday Jun 12 10:47 PM

I'm not so sure about this idea of Monster's where a smaller field of view in the mirrors means fewer distractions. I mean, would that work for the forward view too? Should we be blocking off part of the windscreen to ensure drivers can see just enough and no more?



xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Jun 13 01:45 AM

If you can turn your head and see it, it's NOT a blind spot. A blind spot is created when vision is being restricted by part of the vehicle. A mirror or closed circuit TV is the ONLY way to see what's in your blind spot. Motorcycles don't had blind spots.



ZenGum  Wednesday Jun 13 04:43 AM

What V said. And Ali.

I have my mirrors adjusted so that I can *just* see the side of the car in the edge of the mirror - I like the reference point. I *know* there is a blind spot (okay, Bruce, a "quasi-blind" spot, for you) beside the back of my car, and I check it regularly and always before lane changes. I note and track vehicles approaching from the rear - if I see a motorbike back there, and a few moments later I can't see it, I know to actively LOOK to figure out where it is.

One time I was on a highway, two lanes each way, doing 100ks in the cruising lane, coming up behind a truck doing about 95, and with a 4WD coming up behind me at 110. I decided to let the 4WD pass me, and then pop out behind it and pass the truck. Just as the 4WD went past I popped on my indicator and flicked my head to check the blind spot before moving over ... thus catching a glimpse of the small sedan which was stuck right in behind the 4WD, previously hidden from view, and just entering the road space I was about to move into! I had *just* started to twitch the wheel but straightened in time, but I sure scared the heck out of both the other driver and myself.



glatt  Wednesday Jun 13 08:49 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce View Post
If you can turn your head and see it, it's NOT a blind spot. A blind spot is created when vision is being restricted by part of the vehicle. A mirror or closed circuit TV is the ONLY way to see what's in your blind spot. Motorcycles don't had blind spots.
Yeah, and car stylists don't seem to care about blind spots much at all. In the 80's, for example, car visibility was far superior, and now you need backup cameras on regular passenger cars. It's trendy now to have narrow slit windows in back, and tall trunks that restrict views. Back in the 80s, the windows came down low all around, and the pillars were narrower. It was like driving in a fishbowl. You could see everything.

I'm kind of a crotchety old man when it comes to cars today. They mostly suck. There are a couple nice ones here and there, but mostly they are going in the wrong direction.


xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Jun 13 09:01 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenGum View Post
...I have my mirrors adjusted so that I can *just* see the side of the car in the edge of the mirror - I like the reference point. I *know* there is a blind spot (okay, Bruce, a "quasi-blind" spot, for you) beside the back of my car, and I check it regularly and always before lane changes.
The chances of someone driving beside the back of your car on the highway is slim to none. 99.99% of the time (ok, made up internet statistic) they are driving in the lane on your left or right. If you can see the side of your car in your mirror, you're doubling your, by your definition, blind spot.


monster  Wednesday Jun 13 12:52 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhianne View Post
I'm not so sure about this idea of Monster's where a smaller field of view in the mirrors means fewer distractions. I mean, would that work for the forward view too? Should we be blocking off part of the windscreen to ensure drivers can see just enough and no more?
No, that's your natural view, it's what is of immediate "interest" to your well being and it is what your brain is already used to processing. That's why our eyes are positioned as they are. But we do not have eyes in the sides and backs of our heads (most of us), so seeing those extra views is an additional distraction


jimhelm  Wednesday Jun 13 10:36 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhianne View Post
I'll have to look next time I go outside, I'm not even sure my car has mirrors. I usually want to see where I'm going, not where I've been.
YOU are the problem.

360 awareness at all times.

Expect the dickhead to act like a dickhead. Look in the other car's side mirrors to see if Rhianne is about to do something stupid.

If you have a known blind spot, assume there is a trash truck in it.


Aliantha  Thursday Jun 14 02:24 AM

Or a motorcycle...



Rhianne  Thursday Jun 14 06:52 AM

I was being silly, of course my car has mirrors - how else would I be able to squeeze spots properly or sort my hair?



jimhelm  Thursday Jun 14 01:12 PM

oh you



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