Sideview Mirror Distortion


Can you explain the, “Objects in Mirror are Closer than They Appear” message? Why is it only on the sideview mirror?



There are two " side view mirrors " left ( drivers side ) and right ( passenger side ). That message better be only on the right side mirror. If you had both mirrors in your hand you would see the right side is slightly convexed ( fish eye ) hence the message. The reason has to do with how far away from the driver it is and the resulting smaller field of view if it were a flat mirror. To see a wider field of view it is covexed so you can see farther to the right and left back there. The convexing makes the resulting image smaller in relation to a flat mirror which might fool the viewer to think they are farther away from the object than in actuality . So they print that message on there to cause you to learn your mirrors and realize what you’re seeing in there. With a little practice you’ll get used to knowing how far away you really are.


It has to do with focal distance.

When you look into the driver’s side mirror, you’re eyes are closer to the mirror. So objects in the mirror will appear larger. But when you look into the passenger side mirror, your eyes are further away from the mirror. So those objects will appear smaller. They’re just trying to remind you that just because a vehicle looks smaller in the right side mirror than a vehicle in the left side mirror doesn’t mean it’s further away.



The convex mirror doesn’t have to be adjusted precisely to see everything. I think that’s why it’s used way over there. Another advantage in making the images smaller is that headlights behind you won’t blind you. I have no idea why there isn’t a convex mirror on the driver’s side.


Ken got it right. The passenger side is convexed to give the same field of view as you get from the flat drivers side view mirror.

If you adjust the outside mirrors correctly, you won’t be blinded by drivers behind you. See this artical by Click and Clack, it really works.