Why might objects in rear view mirror be closer than they appear?

The in basket: Frank Torres asks in an e-mail, “What’s the purpose of passenger side view mirrors showing vehicles farther away than what they really are? Sounds kind of dumb to me,”

The out basket: I Googled the subject to see if my belief that it widens the field of view and reduces the driver’s blind spot was accurate. The results weren’t as quick and helpful as they usually are on Google, but I finally found what seems like confirmation on a site for SmartMotorist.com.

It said, “Federal standards require that a vehicle’s rear-view mirror provide the driver with a certain field of view. To meet the requirement, manufacturers often use a convex mirror on the passenger side. It gives a broader view where most vehicles create an area of reduced visibility, frequently called the blind spot.”

I’ll take that as a yes.

State Trooper Russell Winger confirmed it, too, and added something I didn’t know. “Interesting to note,” he said, “that a passenger side mirror is not required when a vehicle is equipped with an inside rear-view mirror.” It’s only required when the vehicle has after-market tinting on any of its windows OR does not have an inside rear-view  mirror. “The left mirror is always required, of course,” he said.

One thought on “Why might objects in rear view mirror be closer than they appear?

  1. Hmmm… Convex mirror=wider field of view=more items to be seen in same space=items seem smaller, hence not as close.

    Travis, surprised you actually Googled it!

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