Optimal Blind Spot Mirror Placement
December 26, 2013 2:05 PM   Subscribe

I normally position my car's side mirrors according to this method of minimizing blind spots, but the car I'm driving now, the driver's side mirror will not move as far out as I need it to, so I am supplementing the mirrors with little convex blind spot mirrors (the current mirrors also won't show parking spot lines). However, what is the optimal placement for these? Outside/bottom? Inside/bottom? People have them all different ways and I'm wondering what works best.

A bit of additional info: this is a Ford Mustang so a bit low to the ground, and the area I'm specifically having trouble with is (if straight ahead is 0 deg and my left arm is 90 deg) the 110-140 deg area. Visibility is not great in this car so turning my head isn't always helpful. It's usually most problematic when I'm merging onto the freeway and trying to spot cars that may be merging in my direction to exit.
posted by Mo' Money Moe Bandy to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I have some of these--they have a very wide viewing angle, and are adjustable, so I don't think the position matters that much. I put them where I felt they interfered least with the primary mirrors, the inside bottom.

You should still look over your shoulder to see if someone two lanes over wants to merge into the same spot as you.
posted by domnit at 2:49 PM on December 26, 2013

My method is to adjust the side mirrors so they start where the edges of the interior mirror end. So, my view is as lose to a panorama as possible. That's always worked pretty well for me, and I've not noticed any issue with blind spots.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:04 PM on December 26, 2013

My car has these built into the mirror on the far corner to give me more visibility. I happen to like them.
posted by TheAdamist at 5:11 PM on December 26, 2013

Ford builds them into the outer corners of the mirrors when they include them. Have seen them on the fusion & mustang.
posted by TheAdamist at 5:45 PM on December 26, 2013

I added a little blind spot mirror on my driver's side mirror, and used the upper inner corner of the mirror because that seemed like wasted space. This placement works fine for visualizing the blind spot. It will definitely give you the 110-140 degree visualization you're seeking. But I've noticed that more people put them on the outer side of the mirror than on the inner side.
posted by Snerd at 6:35 PM on December 26, 2013

I put one of these on my driver's side mirror once, after nearly squashing a motorcyclist who was riding in a difficult-to-check portion of my car's blind spot. I put it on the outside bottom corner, as that seemed to be the part of the mirror that I needed the least. It certainly did the trick; I should probably get one for my current vehicle. I don't think that there's really a "wrong" place to put the mirror however; whatever works for you should be fine. There's probably a reason that cars and trucks which come with such mirrors tend to put them at the outside or bottom edge, but the little stick-on mirrors are quite small and won't obscure much of your view no matter where you place them.

I wouldn't bother with putting one on the passenger side, by the way. The picture in those little stick-on blind spot mirrors is very small and would be hard to make out from that far away. Also, the passenger-side mirror is already somewhat convex in order to remove blind spots – hence the "objects in mirror are closer than they appear" warning. That side of the car is generally easier to check anyway since you don't have to twist your neck as far to see out.

Do note that the distortion in those mirrors is pretty extreme and takes some getting used to. A car that is in your main mirror's blind spot but revealed by the stick-on will generally look as if it is well behind you when in fact it is pretty much right alongside your car. You really can't trust your brain's judgment in that regard, and anything that is visible in the blind spot mirror needs to be verified by a conventional shoulder-check or else you are liable to blithely change lanes right through another vehicle without realizing. It takes special training (like truckers get) to be able to accurately judge distances in a convex mirror.
posted by Scientist at 8:48 PM on December 26, 2013

I put mine as close as possible (upper, inner corner on driver and passenger's side) with a larger one on the passenger side.
posted by JV at 11:38 PM on December 26, 2013

In teaching driving, a method we used to teach blind spots - was to have the student in the driver’s seat - the seat, mirrors and steering wheel adjusted for normal driving. The student was to pretend they were driving (so two hands on the wheel) and glancing at their side mirror. The teacher would walk slowly along the side of the car - from the back end of the car and towards the front of the car - about 30 cm away from the car. The teacher would ask the student to shout when they can no longer see the teacher in their side mirror. At that point - the teacher stops and asks the student to turn their head towards them. There - is your blind spot. And there are blind spots all around your vehicle. Learn where they are!
Keep in mind - nothing can replace using recommended safe driving techniques – that is always being aware of who is around you by checking your mirrors and doing shoulder checks consistently. The convex mirrors are rarely recommended by professional drivers or insurance companies as they can distort images and create a false sense of security.
posted by what's her name at 7:09 AM on December 27, 2013

I put mine on the inside corner, low on each side. My reasoning is that the small mirrors do a better job of giving me the big picture quickly so I can see a wide range of view, then I can focus from there on the more detailed larger image if I need to. I want to see the big picture first and quickly so it's the first thing I look at.
posted by diode at 9:03 PM on December 27, 2013

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