Urgent search for a blind spot mirror with "lane-change corner" line
July 11, 2015 11:43 AM   Subscribe

Hoping to find a convex blind spot mirror like this, with a "corner line", indicating whether the car behind you is far enough away for safe lane-changing. Google and Autozone etc. have plenty of convex blind spot mirrors, but none with the all-important line. What is the name of this feature/do you recognize this product?

I had the mirror pictured installed on my old car, by an adaptive driving place in Missouri. The old mirrors are permanent, and can't be transferred to my new car. The Autozone guys had heard of it, but couldn't come up with the right term, my local adaptive professional had never heard of it. I could call the place that sold me my previous ones on Monday, but it would be a life-saver to be able to order some new ones this weekend. Even if I could just find the term for this "safe-lane-changing line/margin" it would be helpful. Many, many thanks in advance!
posted by warm_planet to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
indicating whether the car behind you is far enough away for safe lane-changing

This is absolutely impossible because relative speed is the single biggest factor, which is impossible for a mirror to provide. A purely distance based measure is not enough information for a safe lane change. Also, a slight change in driver seating position would mean the line would need to move enormously on the mirror.

There is no such thing or, at the very least, the ones that exist are entirely lying about the concept of 'safe line'. So anyone that tries to sell you one is a shyster.
posted by Brockles at 12:11 PM on July 11, 2015 [21 favorites]

Agree with Brockles. If position were enough, you'd need two lines on separate surfaces (say, the inside of your window and on the mirror itself, and you'd need to line your head up such that the two lines were overlapping. Or you'd need a colminated mark, with optics like a "red dot" gunsight (which would also be a pain in the ass to mount to a mirror). But since, as Brockles says, it's not enough to know position alone, I'd stay far, far away from this concept.
posted by Alterscape at 12:32 PM on July 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Sorry, I understand what your concerns are, but the feature I am looking for is very clearly in the picture I posted. It is basically a white line in the corner of the convex mirror. I have used it for years and understand the risks. If you are unable to see the picture, please let me know. Thanks.
posted by warm_planet at 12:48 PM on July 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

I agree that any line on the mirror would change position in the image drastically just by moving your head. I keep my side mirrors angled out into my "blind spots," but if I need to I can lean a bit to see straight behind. A line on my mirror would vary by many car lengths.

Enough distance to change lanes (assuming same speed / passing highway situation) is when I can see both headlights in the rearview mirror. That's pretty much not possible if I'm too close, no matter how much I move my head.

Edit: sorry, was typing while you updated. Trying to solve the overall goal. If it's strictly the exact thing you want, I don't have an answer.
posted by ctmf at 12:51 PM on July 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

I did some searching and didn't find anything with a mark like that. My suggestion would be to get the biggest blind spot mirror you can (that won't impede visibility) and create your own mark. Have someone (or something) positioned where you'd consider to be safe passing distance, and put a mark on your mirror. Sharpie would probably last quite a while, could just re-add it when it started to fade. Someone else might have a better idea to use for marking on a mirror.
posted by HermitDog at 1:09 PM on July 11, 2015 [3 favorites]

but the feature I am looking for is very clearly in the picture I posted.

At the risk of sounding like I'm scolding (which I am absolutely not, but this is a safety concern here):

Just so we're clear - this is not a 'feature'. These are facts, not 'concerns'. This is just a line on a mirror. It has no bearing on safe distance and is not something you should rely on unless you establish the safe distance yourself and then draw your own line on your own mirror on your own car. A line on some off the shelf mirror is just a reference line and the manufacturer knows neither your car, the road, your seating position relative to the mirror, nor the closing speed of the traffic NOR the angle of your mirror relative to your vehicle (which is also critical).

The likelihood of it actually lining up with a safe distance on your car is purely chance, even if you found the same mirror.

I know this criticising of your belief in this mirror/line combo could sound personal, but it isn't. Consider that just because that older mirror worked for your older vehicle (possibly also by chance) that does not mean that it will work for a different car with different mirror positioning (fore/aft), seat position or mirror angle.

Now. In order to get a line that will work as you hope, I think the best method would be to establish the position that you want the line to be on the mirror (maybe by parking your car relative to other stationary vehicles so that you are comfortable with the distance they are behind you) and marking the mirror on one edge temporarily with a sharpie. Then with masking tape, make an edge either side of that location and paint it on yourself with a paint pen or some modelling paint. When it is dry you can remove the two bits of masking tape and you have a nice neat line of your own specified width.
posted by Brockles at 1:46 PM on July 11, 2015 [8 favorites]

I had the mirror pictured installed on my old car, by an adaptive driving place in Missouri.

It has just occurred to me, after looking at many pictures of mirrors exactly like the one in your picture and no sign of a line on any of them, that it is possible that the adaptive driving place drew the line, after fitting it to the car.

Is that possible? I can't imagine a place like that just slapping an aftermarket mirror with a pointless line on your car. Is it possible they installed the mirror then added the line? It'd be easy to do with vinyl graphics or a paint pen as I said before. In which case that'd explain why you can't find them and also how that line 'worked' on your old car.
posted by Brockles at 2:09 PM on July 11, 2015 [10 favorites]

...it is possible that the adaptive driving place drew the line, after fitting it to the car.

I think Brockles has it right. The blind spot mirror looks like it might be this one or this one. The addition of the line would be dependent on the installed location and the driver.

While looking for help for you, I found that Dr. Richards P. Lyon wrote in A Process Mind about his invention of a method for positioning and adding a reference frame to such a mirror to aid in timing lane changes. He tried (unsuccessfully) to patent it. In the online Lyon book linked above, this is found in the final section, titled "Final Foray? Perhaps Not." The suggestions by HermitDog and Brockles are similar to Lyon's method, but use more practical materials.
posted by Snerd at 3:01 PM on July 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

I agree that the previous solution was likely a customized solution. I'm assuming that you have a disability that restricts your ability to turn normally to see in your blind spot.

I've spent a lot of time driving cargo vehicles that lacked both rear view mirrors and the ability to physically view the blind zone, and what worked was oversized side mirrors and well placed blind spot mirrors. The key there was being able to see the end of the vehicle from the driver's location as well as the space behind it. That visibility means the mirror is in the correct place and is more accurate than an arbitrary line, because as has been noted, the speed of the other car can dramatically change the safe zone.

However, in this case, what might work for you now that they've come down in price is a car camera system with a display on the dash. The camera can be mounted in a way that gives you far better visibility than a mirror can.
posted by Candleman at 5:48 PM on July 11, 2015

I know you want an add on mirror, but the mirrors that come with every modern car are entirely adequate if properly adjusted.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 7:15 PM on July 11, 2015

Response by poster: Thank you, everyone. I did get a link from someone and for future searchers, the term is "safe box" manufacturer: Smartview. Here it is. I will certainly be cautious with my usage of them on my new car, and appreciate the instructions for customization.
posted by warm_planet at 9:28 PM on July 11, 2015

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