Synthesis Study of Light Vehicle Non-planar Mirror Research


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United States. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


Due to the requirement for a planar rearview mirror on the driver side of light vehicles, and drivers' typical aiming of rearview mirrors, a large blind spot is adjacent to the car. This blind spot can conceal a vehicle, which may increase the risk of lane-change collisions. Non-planar rearview mirrors present the driver with a greater field of view; however, they also provide a minified image. Laboratory and stationary-driver testing have consistently shown that non-planar mirrors are associated with overestimations in distance and speed. However, there is less consistency in findings for on-road testing, as the magnitude and practical effect of overestimation varies. Likewise, lane-change crash rates in Europe do not appear to be affected by non-planar mirror use. The ability of drivers to detect and react to an object is aided by nonplanar mirrors. This, and the interior planar rearview mirror, may offset overestimation and the effect of smaller accepted gaps. Additional research is needed to determine the effect of non-planar rearview mirrors on crash rates and driver acceptance, as well as the possibility of different configurations, of non-planar mirrors within the United States.



Aspheric mirrors, Blind spot, Convex mirrors, Indirect vision, Non-planar mirrors, Planar mirrors


Morgan, J. F., & Blanco, M. (2010). Synthesis study of light vehicle non-planar mirror research. (VT-2008-02). Washington, DC: United States. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Retrieved from