Right side mirror

Could someone - anyone - in simple, monosyllable words explain why the right hand mirror can no be like the left hand mirror. In the left hand mirror you get what you see. In the right hand mirror it says objects may be closer than they appear. I know about convext/concave mirrors. But why not just use the same kind of mirror as on the left side?


I do use flat mirrors on the right side instead of convex mirrors. IMHO it’s more difficult to judge distances in the convex ones, but the field of vision is narrower.

[b]They are the same type of mirror. The reason it says that on the right hand mirror is because the focal distance to that mirror is a greater distance than it is to the left side mirror. So objects in that mirror may seem further away than they really are.


Many newer cars use those silly convex mirrors on the right (some may use them on the left as well), either way they are a real PITA. I agree, they are even worse if you are sitting further away from the mirror. I tend to find them on many new domestic POS rental cars. Fortunately, I don’t own any cars with those mirrors.

In the old days they were the same on both sides, if there was a mirror on the right at all.

The new mirrors are designed to give you a wider field of view. You could probably have the mirror replaced with a plain one if it really bothers you.

I personally like the right side mirror with a slight convex curve to it. Yeah, the distance of the object in the reflection becomes exaggerated, but the field of view of a flat right-side mirror makes it almost useless. I had a flat aftermarket mirror on the right side of my pickup and stuck a convex truck mirror on top of it.

On my tC, because rearward vision is poor, I put small “spot” convex mirrors in the corners and it completely eliminated the blind spots.

  • mountainbike

It can be, at least according the DOT web site I just read. The passenger side outside mirror can be either a flat or convex mirror. In fact, the DOT regs don’t even require a passenger outside mirror if the inside review and driver outside mirrors provide the required field of view. It appears all the car makers are following a trend. The regulations allow a convex mirror, but do not require it. So, you could have it replaced at a glass shop. I had a mirror replaced on my daughter’s Volvo and the glass shop did the job in 5 minutes in their parking lot and the cost was abut $35. They would either order a replacement or cut one on site, so you could just have the convext part replaced with a flat one if you prefer.

Looks like DOT regulations have fallen behind the times. Many years ago, almost all roads were two lane so outside rearview mirrors weren’t required. Dual taillights and turn signals weren’t either, but thats another story. Anyway, in todays modern world of multi lane freeways, you really need two outside rearview mirrors, but not for looking behind you but for looking beside you in your blind-spot. Read this on the best way to adjust your outside mirrors.


Now, as for why the right side mirror has a convex curved surface. The drivers side mirror is close to you, so when you look at it, you get a pretty wide field of view. It would be like looking through a toilet paper tube. In comparison, the passenger side mirror is much further away, so it appears smaller, and as a result, you get a much smaller field of view. This would be like looking through a paper towel tube.

Another analogy would be to hold the toilet paper tube up close to your eye and see how wide your field of view is. Then hold the tube a foot away from your eye and see how much the field of view through the tube diminishes. By shaping the mirror into a convex curve, the field of view increases. The amount of curve is designed to match the field of view of the flat mirror on the drivers side.

They are not in fact the same kind of mirror… as the questioner suggests one is concave and one is flat. And the reason IS for better field of vision. I’d suggest we have bigger blind spots on the right than we have on the left.

convex I meant

Depending on your specific vehicle, the best solution might be to get a replacement (flat) drivers side mirror and use it to replace the silly convex mirror glass on the right side. Of course, that will only work if they are symmetrical. A quick survey of my local food store indicates that almost all newer cars have a convex mirror on the right; reason number 958 that I’m glad I drive old cars.

You don’t have to perfectly adjust a convex mirror on a car with multiple drivers. It’s a long reach if you don’t have remote controlled mirrors.