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Old 09-22-2009, 02:03 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Solving the blind spot problem

Hi,

I've been unhappy with the blind spots and never really felt the OEM mirrors were doing a through job. But in another thread at PriusChat, some folks suggested after-market, convex mirrors. I picked up a pair of 2"x1" convex mirrors, $2/each, at the local Autozone and started this experiment:

This is the rear view mirror of our 2003, NHW11 Prius.

Driving home, it worked perfectly and in a few minutes, I'll try some night driving. Barring some problem at night, this is working well. I'm now seeing cars in the blind spots, just behind the rear passenger doors, on both sides of the car. Not visible because the cell phone is closer than my normal eye position, the two convex mirrors overlap in the center. Also, these mirrors fit in the same area that the rear passenger head rests normally block the rear view.

For less than $5, I finally feel comfortable that the blind spots are covered. I'm seeing vehicles that otherwise are not seen in the OEM mirrors. FYI, these particular, convex mirrors are "Pilot" MI-003 bought at Autozone. I have no financial interest in Pilot or Autozone.

Bob Wilson

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Old 09-22-2009, 02:42 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Get the inside and drivers side mirrors from a European (mainland) market car. These cars have convex mirrors from the factory with no blind spots.
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Old 09-22-2009, 03:28 AM   #3 (permalink)
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bwilson4web -

This is my current state of overkill :

Quote:
Originally Posted by cfg83 View Post
...

Here is my complete mirror configuration :



The 17" convex rear-view mirror is my rear-view HQ, and the interior side-view mirrors are my "just before lane change" confirmation mirrors.

...
In practice I almost never use the interior side-view mirrors, but they are there if I need them and allow me to argue that I am in "gross compliance" with the law, so to speak. I do use the teeny bike mirror, but it is not very helpful at night.

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Old 09-22-2009, 04:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It's possible to adjust your outside mirrors to eliminate blind spots to the sides of the car. You set your outside mirrors to having a very minimal overlap with the rearview. The passing vehicles go rearview mirror -> outside mirror -> peripheral vision when you're looking straight ahead.

Don't know if that's possible on a Prius. Works well on my car.
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Old 09-22-2009, 07:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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CarloSW2, I was considering a mirror like yours, but do you find the 17" rearview mirror obstructs useful portions of the windshield?
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Old 09-22-2009, 08:14 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertSmalls View Post
CarloSW2, I was considering a mirror like yours, but do you find the 17" rearview mirror obstructs useful portions of the windshield?
That's a good question. I haven't really noticed it. The real problem with it is that when a passenger uses the window visor, they frequently knock the rear view mirror out of position. I don't do that because I am *aware* of it's size. Sooooo, in that sense, bwilson4web's solution is a better "fit" with existing visors.

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Old 09-22-2009, 10:54 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Doesn't anyone check over their shoulder anymore?

Hell, I don't even use the mirrors on Cara most of the time, because I'm not entirely concerned with what's behind me unless I'm slowing down, and I'm not entirely concerned with what's beside me unless I'm changing lanes... And even then, I check over my shoulder unless physically unable, like in box trucks and large vehicles which aren't equipped for passenger travel.

My OE mirrors are set so that there is no overlap and no blind spot, as well.

Method for setting mirrors:

Get into driving position
Lean your head to the left as far as you can while keeping your head in the straight up and down position, so that an imaginary line down the bridge of your nose would remain vertical.
Adjust left mirror so that the sheet metal of the vehicle is just visible, then move the mirror until the vehicle is just out of sight in this head position.

Lean head to the right, using the same method, adjust right mirror (have someone else adjust it if it's a manual mirror and you can't adjust it from your driving position).

Adjust rearview mirror so that you can see equal parts of the rear interior on all sides of the mirror.

If you use this method correctly, you should have no (or minimal) blind spots, and you won't need to move your head to use your mirrors properly. You just don't need to look at the corner of your car while you're driving, although many people apparently assume that their ass-end is going somewhere the front hasn't already been.
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Old 09-23-2009, 09:05 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christ View Post
. . .
My OE mirrors are set so that there is no overlap and no blind spot, as well.

Method for setting mirrors:
. . .
What I find with this method is the nose of most cars just show up as the rear disappears. The body of standard cars on either side are not simultaneously visible and motorcyclists still disappear. The visual clue is the doors of the overtaking or being overtaken car disappear.

The convex mirrors provide 'the whole car' and work great with motorcyclists and Smart cars. This morning on the way into work, there was a Mini Cooper that was completely masked by the "Method for setting mirrors" but it was clearly visible in the convex mirror. I'll post photos from my cell phone this evening. One other aspect is the convex mirrors also show parts of my car, the door posts, which gives context or sense of exact location that the "Method for setting mirrors" does not provide. Those mirrors just point out into space with no reference relative to your own vehicle. Regardless, this story led to this most recent effort:

I Crashed into a Scary Biker Dude | momlogic.com
Quote:
. . . Thump. That was the only sound I heard. What followed was a horrific vision -- the body of a man tumbling on the pavement in front of my car, his motorcycle not far behind him. I screamed and slammed on the brakes. As I jumped out of the car to run to him, I ordered my 11-year-old to call 911.

It's every driver's worst nightmare -- a motorcyclist in our blind spot. That day had been a busy mom day of errands successfully accomplished despite the bickering kids in the car. I was driving my new Prius. Having just made the big lifestyle change from a succession of enormous SUV's, my blood curdles at the thought of how that day would have gone had I hit that man with an SUV. But the Prius, and its blind spot, was new to me, and as I moved into a left turn lane in a busy commercial area in Los Angeles, there it was. That sudden, terrifying thump.

When I reached the man, he had gotten to his hands and knees. He looked up at me and quietly said, "You didn't see me?" Clearly I hadn't -- and I felt like a fool, although I was thankful he was talking. Then my eyes began to take in more details of my victim as his hulking frame rose up from the pavement. The dude had to be 6'4", about 250 pounds, with tattoos covering every inch of visible arms. His ears, lips, and nose were dotted with gleaming piercings. His helmet had spikes shooting out from the crown, and the piece de resistance, a sticker on his bike that read, "I'm a Devil's Diciple [sic]. Don't f*** with me."
. . .
A former motorcycle and bicycle commuter, I knew I was invisible. The convex mirrors have shown my 'lying eyes' why that is the case.

Bob Wilson
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Old 09-23-2009, 11:30 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Hm. I haven't had a problem with losing cars as they pass (I'm not usually the one doing the passing...) and I can see motorcycles on the highway that ride in the right-most section of the left lane while they're on my corners. I've used that method on every car I've driven, and I've noticed that only on those with extremely long rear-ends (box trucks and flat beds) that there are still blind spots, but on the average <20 foot length commuter vehicle (misnomer, I know), there are none.
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Old 09-23-2009, 12:33 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 99LeCouch View Post
It's possible to adjust your outside mirrors to eliminate blind spots to the sides of the car. You set your outside mirrors to having a very minimal overlap with the rearview. The passing vehicles go rearview mirror -> outside mirror -> peripheral vision when you're looking straight ahead.

Don't know if that's possible on a Prius. Works well on my car.
I read about this in a Cartalk article. Makes sense. I set mine that way.

However I still end up turning my head most of the time. Because depending on the weather I might have 1 shirt on or 4 shirts on, or boots or not, changes the position I am in relation to the mirrors. And the only way to really set them properly is to be on a straight level piece of highway, which I don't get unless I am going downstate.

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