Rearview Mirror Reflectivity and the Tradeoff Between Forward and Rearward Seeing
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.