Monday, February 28, 2011

Can you see me now?

This month’s posting is from a quick and effective project that I performed three years ago.   The project was about improving blind spots through our mirrors.

Rear and side visibility is very important in day to day driving, and more so in a car that rides as low such as the DeLorean.  Despite the rear louvers, I find rear visibility to be quite good, the major opportunities however with the side blind spots.  The glass on the rear quarter panels  does allow some sort of visibility to the sides, say in a lane change, but the real opportunity is with the side/door mirrors. There are several things that can be done to improve this.

  1. Change the angle of the mirrors. Most of us were trained to set up our mirrors to be able to see a portion of the side of the car, as a reference.  There is a different way to set up these mirrors, which decreases blind spots, and it is done by setting them up in coordination with the rear view mirror.  To set them up this way, at a normal driving position, you observe what is visible on your rear view mirror, and note what is visible on the left end of the rear view mirror.  Then you set up your left side mirror to duplicate the end point of the left side of the rear view mirror, with the right edge of the left side mirror.  This will mean that the mirror will need to be rotated probably to its extreme outward position, and the side of your car will no longer be visible on the mirror.  You do the same for the right side.  What you then have, at a glance from rear view mirror, to either mirror, is a transition, a transition which nearly eliminates your car's blind spots.  I implemented this on all our cars at home a few years ago, and will never go back. I can now quickly evaluate safe driving conditions for a lane merge, with this method with only using the mirrors.  This works best with larger mirrors, and thus not as optimal with our DeLorean mirrors.
  2. Change the standard side mirrors to the Convex or Multi-vex types.  Most modern cars come with a convex passenger side mirror. These are the ones with the “Objects in mirror appear farther than they are”, because it allows a greater field of view by optically altering the view and results in objects looking farther away than in actuality.  There are also “Multi-vex” type mirrors which are basically a convex mirror, but further optically alter the view at the mirror’s farthest end.
  3. Combine option 1 and 2 above.  This is what I chose to do.

More details and pictures to follow.

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