Large, rectangular shape maximizes the rear view of a vehicle's blind spots. Mirror is a good size that does not block the main view of the side mirror itself.
Mirrors are prone to reflections that often obscure the whole view.
Comes in a round and rectangular shape to match the size/shape of the side mirrors. Available in 2 or 4 piece packs for a better value purchase.
The adhesive backing is prone to coming loose in wet weather or humid conditions.
Circular profile makes it easy to place the blind spot mirrors almost anywhere on the side mirror. Mirror rotates and sways to adjust for the best viewing angle possible.
Mirrors offer just a narrow, restricted view of most vehicle's blind spots.
Comes with a mix of curved, elongated corners to squeeze into rectangular side mirrors for a better fit. Uses a strong adhesive that can withstand highway travel.
Rectangular shape does not fit well in circular or small side mirrors.
For such a small item, the blind spot mirror attracts a surprising amount of contention. Perhaps you’re considering buying one but have a few questions. Does it work? Is it worth it? Is it even legal?
We’ve been looking at what’s available and how these mirrors perform. We certainly think they’re a worthwhile investment, and we’ve recommended a few of our favorites.
We’ve also looked at the whole subject in much greater detail in our buying guide for blind spot mirrors, examining the arguments for and against, looking into the legislation, and providing answers to the most common questions.
Why would I need a blind spot mirror?
According to United States law, a driver’s-side rearview mirror must be flat, so it gives a plain, undistorted view of what’s behind the vehicle. Unfortunately, this restricts the width of view available, which leads to areas the driver can’t see, called blind spots.
Passenger-side mirrors can be convex, which gives the driver a much wider view. So why don’t we have the same on the driver’s side? In the UK, Europe, and many other countries, they do. The argument has been going on in the US for years, but at the time of writing, the distorted view isn’t considered safe enough for the driver. Indeed passenger-side doors must be marked with “Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear” as a warning of what some might not think are potential dangers.
Is a blind spot mirror necessary?
Some experts suggest that proper adjustment of the vehicle’s existing mirrors can eliminate blind spots without the need to buy additional mirrors. They recommend adjusting your mirror outward – farther than you think “normal” – in order to see vehicles in other lanes (which is a typical blind spot problem). This seems unnatural at first because you can’t see the side of your own vehicle, but those experts argue that this isn’t necessary.
Some people simply don’t feel comfortable having the mirrors set like that. However, the idea is perfectly valid for highway use, where vehicles are approaching from behind, on either side, but where in normal circumstances they still stay some distance away.
What it doesn’t take into account, in our opinion, is those situations in which you do want to see along the side of your car, such as when you want to know how close that cyclist is. Or if there’s a baby stroller behind you when you’re trying to parallel park on a busy street.
With the relatively low cost of blind spot mirrors, it makes sense to leave your mirrors set the way you’re used to and use these small additional devices to increase your all-round vision. We can only see positives to that choice. A blind spot mirror is small enough to not obscure the normal view, but it provides increased visual information for the driver and so enhance road safety.
Blind spot mirrors are simple devices. A large part of choosing the right model is personal: does it look good on your vehicle?
Shape: There are lots of shapes available, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a style to suit your car or truck. Some are even specifically designed to fit particular makes and models.
Frame: Aside from shape, you’ll want to consider whether you want framed (usually black or chrome) or unframed.
Size: Size is important. If you have a compact car with small mirrors, you don’t want a blind spot mirror that’s a couple inches square. On the other hand, if you’ve got a big pickup, you can have a larger blind spot mirror without any negative impact on your normal view.
Adjustability: Cheap blind spot mirrors are little more than an adhesive reflective patch. Better-quality models are adjustable, with a ball-and-socket swivel that allows you to set your rearward view with tremendous precision.
Glare: Most standard vehicle side mirrors are made of chromed glass. The casing that holds them isn’t just for positioning and/or a motor drive; it also allows some light to pass through. This helps reduce the glare when you have the sun behind you, and from other drivers’ headlights at night. Most blind spot mirrors aren’t made the same way, so glare can be annoying. The best models have a surface that’s been treated to reduce this kind of visual distraction.
Inexpensive: The cheapest blind spot mirrors are single items that cost a couple bucks. However, these have no adjustability and are prone to uncomfortable glare either from bright sunlight or other headlights at night. The mirrored surface has also been known to flake off after a short time.
Midrange: With the low cost of good-quality alternatives – around $10 to $15 a pair – there seems little point in buying substandard mirrors.
Expensive: The most expensive blind spot mirrors we’ve seen are still under $30, including those suitable for trucks, RVs, and semis. Whichever mirrors you choose, it’s a small price to pay for such an effective means of accident prevention.
When fitting a blind spot mirror, you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, of course, but the following tips make a good general guide:
The WadeStar RM10 Blind Spot Mirrors are specifically designed for Dodge Ram trucks. This is a basic, nonadjustable model, so there’s nothing to prevent you from putting one on other vehicles, but we can’t say with certainty how well one will work. RVs and semis present their own problems, which are easy to resolve if you’ve got a basic mirror tree or stem that will accept the five-inch chrome Grand General 33270 Blind Spot Mirror, though you might need to source a different bracket to fit it properly. If you don’t like the idea of sticking additional mirrors on your existing ones, the 3.35-inch Ampper Blind Spot Mirror is an interesting, and flexible, alternative with a suction cup that fits to the inside of your windshield.
Q. Are blind spot mirrors legal?
A. Strangely, while there’s highly specific legislation about driver’s-side mirrors as fitted by manufacturers, we couldn’t find anything related to aftermarket blind spot mirrors – either for or against. We were unable to find any instances of people being prosecuted for using them, which would support the suggestion that they’re legal. Furthermore, at least one of the best makers of blind spot mirrors is a US company, selling its products in this country. It would seem highly unlikely that would be the case if the product wasn’t legal. Of course, we’re not lawyers. If you have any worries, you should consult someone properly qualified to advise you on the subject.
Q. Are blind spot mirrors safe?
A. When fitted correctly, absolutely. In fact, they’re designed to increase your safety and that of others, particularly cyclists and pedestrians you might not otherwise see. The mirrors are not just useful in highway situations; they’re also handy when your vehicle is moving slowly, like when you’re reversing into a parking spot.
Q. Do blind spot mirrors really work?
A. Yes, but let’s underline that proper positioning is important. If that’s done, there’s no doubt one will give you a better view around your vehicle. The problem is now recognized by vehicle manufacturers, more and more of whom are installing blind spot detection systems. Blind spot mirrors provide a similar function but at a tiny fraction of the price.
Q. Are blind spot mirrors detachable?
A. Some are, but most are not. They’re designed to stay stuck on in all highway conditions, so strong adhesive is used. Even if you could pry off the mirror, it’s likely to leave a residue that would be difficult to remove, and you might end up damaging your original mirror.
There are a few high-quality models that have a bonding strip that can be removed relatively easily, though it’s a one-time thing. You can’t take it off and put it back on again multiple times.
If you’re at all concerned, you might want to consider the detachable interior blind spot mirror we mention in our “other products” section above.
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