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Technical Paper

Rearview Mirror Reflectivity and the Tradeoff Between Forward and Rearward Seeing

1992-02-01
920404
In a laboratory study and in a mathematical modeling effort, we evaluated the effects of rearview mirror reflectivity on older and younger subjects' seeing ability under conditions designed to simulate night driving with headlamp glare present in the mirror. Rearview mirror reflectivity was varied while observers were required to detect both rearward stimuli seen through the mirror and forward stimuli seen directly. Lower reflectivity resulted in improved ability to see forward and reduced ability to see to the rear. The reduction in ability to see to the rear was much larger than the improvement in forward seeing. The results of the modeling and the laboratory study were in broad agreement, although there were some significant discrepancies. Although the present results cannot be used to make specific recommendations for rearview mirror reflectivity, they suggest that the reduction in rearward vision as reflectivity is lowered should be considered carefully.
Technical Paper

A Field Study of Distance Perception with Large-Radius Convex Rearview Mirrors

1998-02-23
980916
One of the primary reasons that FMVSS 111 currently requires flat rearview mirrors as original equipment on the driver's side of passenger cars is a concern that convex mirrors might reduce safety by causing drivers to overestimate the distances to following vehicles. Several previous studies of the effects of convex rearview mirrors have indicated that they do cause overestimations of distance, but of much lower magnitude than would be expected based on the mirrors' levels of image minification and the resulting visual angles experienced by drivers. Previous studies have investigated mirrors with radiuses of curvature up to 2000 mm. The present empirical study was designed to investigate the effects of mirrors with larger radiuses (up to 8900 mm). Such results are of interest because of the possible use of large radiuses in some aspheric mirror designs, and because of the information they provide about the basic mechanisms by which convex mirrors affect distance perception.
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