Wide-Angle Side Mirrors: Useful or Annoying?


I started noticing the wide-angle side view mirror trend last fall when I drove the redesigned-for-2012 Honda CR-V. These vehicle mirrors seem to be everywhere, including many Ford vehicles and my last test car, the Ford Fiesta.

On the Fiesta (above), the side view mirrors house a separate, smaller mirror in an upper corner. It’s a slightly domed square that provides a wide-angle view, like a fisheye lens. They’re similar to ones you can buy at the local car-care store that stick onto regular mirrors.

The CR-V’s wide-angle mirror (below) is limited to the driver’s side. It’s more convex — an entire quarter of the mirror is angled for a wider view. And it’s actually part of the mirror itself; it doesn’t look stuck-on.

In both cars, I found the standard added mirrors distracting and disorienting. 


Sure, these mirrors help eliminate blind spots, but wouldn’t setting your vehicle’s mirrors correctly do the same thing?

The editorial staff recently took a defensive driving class at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Ill., and learned some tips:

  • Most people adjust the side mirrors so they can see the side of the car, not realizing this creates big blind spots.
  • Instead, adjust the mirrors so that the side of the car is just out of view, decreasing the size of your blind spots.
  • For the driver’s side, lean toward the window, and the side of the car should come into view. Lean a little toward the center of the car, towards the rearview, to adjust the passenger-side mirror accordingly.
  • If the side view mirrors are set correctly, a car that passes you should move from the rear view mirror to the side mirrors, without disappearing in a blind spot.

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