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Convex Traffic Mirrors for Road Safety

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 1

Convex Traffic Mirrors: Eliminating Blind Spots

Convex traffic mirrors are a common sight on blind corners all around town. If you've never taken the time to actually figure out how they work, next time stop and look – you'll see that their convex surface allows you to see around corners, making them an essential part of the traffic system. Traffic mirrors likely eliminated hundreds of fender-benders every year, although the number is hard to confirm – that would be like trying to figure out how many people didn't go to the beach this summer (quick answer: everyone who wasn't there). The actual numbers are probably hidden in some bunker owned by the DMV but us mere mortals will never know, or care. However, we do know that the first patent for a "traffic mirror" was awarded to Louis van Gelder in December 1931, so we know that it must have been in commercial use thereafter.

Convex Traffic Mirrors On School Buses: Politics In Motion

Convex traffic mirrors work by increasing their field of vision granting a greater spread of view, which makes them ideal for places where visibility is normally hampered by obstacles. A properly made convex mirror should give the viewer a 180 degree field of vision. Another version of the traffic mirror is the long rectangular convex mirrors you see on buses. In 1989 there was a controversy in Mentor, Ohio surrounding the delays in installing convex mirrors in school buses to avoid accidental injury and death. At the time a bill sponsored by Rep. Dennis E. Eckart (D-Ohio) proposed that 'special mirrors' be installed on school buses to enable the driver to see in front, alongside and under the bus while seated. This, the bill claimed, would reduce the number of accidents at boarding zones. These special mirrors are none other than our very own convex traffic mirrors. In fact, you won't see many buses without these now-standard fixtures that give the driver maximum visibility.

Convex Traffic Mirror Placement

Normally, a traffic mirror will be suspended or supported from the ground at a height that will give the best view of the adjacent road or path. The normal position is to face the mirror towards the obstacle so that the view on both sides of the obstacle is unimpeded. If the mirror is usually exposed to direct sunlight, a hood or visor may be included in the design to reduce glare. Stainless steel is the material of choice for these mirrors because of their durability and high shine that makes them suitable for outdoor application.

Indoor Use Of Traffic Mirrors

Traffic mirrors are not only useful when one road meets another on a blind turn, but also indoors. Most warehouses and factories with vehicular traffic will have these installed at high-risk spots to enhance safety by reducing the risk of accidental collisions. Because a traffic mirror works around corners, any place where this type of visibility is desirable is suitable. Some wing mirror manufactures even put in a small circular convex section within their regular mirrors to eliminate the famous 'blind spot' that has cars crashing into each other when changing lanes on the highway. The bigger vehicles like SUVs, which are higher than sedans, sometimes have one attached to the rear glass panel so you can see what's on the ground just behind the vehicle when you back up. Of course, these are quickly being replaced by mini-cams that display a digital image on a screen embedded in your dashboard, but a car-maker might still give you a mirror option on base models.

Traffic Mirror Manufacturers

Europe is known to be the best market for traffic mirrors, and there are several companies that manufacture world-class quality traffic mirrors for export to all major markets including North America. China, however, is a fast-emerging competitor because of the speed at which they can fulfill an order and the low cost of production. They are also able to make quality traffic mirrors that will pass any mandatory inspections for safety and accuracy. Amazon.com is a great place to buy cheap convex traffic mirrors at discount prices. They have one of the best selections on the internet for a wide variety of mirrors.


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Comments

Feb 26, 2013 8:20pm
aguy
There is a parking lot I park in every once in a while and it would be *impossible* to get out of it safely if it wasn't for the convex mirror they have installed there.
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