Advantages and Disadvantages of Convex Mirrors

Convex mirrors are enormously useful, as described in the various posts published from this blog. But it’s beneficial to not only be aware of the advantages they provide but also the disadvantages.

Convex Mirror Reflections – Smaller and Further Away

Advantages of Convex Mirrors

As described in this blog, convex mirrors present what is effectively a distorted image. But this distortion is advantageous as it provides a wider field of view than a plane flat mirror. This is particularly useful in a wide variety of applicatioins.

Vehicle rear view mirrors are convex and therefore provide drivers with a wider, more expansive view of what’s behind them. This is clearly beneficial to driving safely.

Convex mirrors in stores provide a wide angle view of the shop enabling shop assistants to keep an eye on customers as they browse the shelves. Staff can see if a shoplifter is pilfering products enabling them to call for assistance and stop the miscreant from stealing.

Convex mirrors in busy warehouse environments enable workers, including busy forklift drivers, to effectively see around corners. This capability prevents accidents and injuries.

Similarly, roadside convex mirrors provide drivers with improved visibility thus preventing them from pulling out into the path of oncoming traffic.

Disadvantages of Convex Mirrors

Although there are many benefits provided by convex mirrors it’s important to be aware of their limitations. The distorted, wide angle reflections presented from convex mirrors means it’s not possible to accurately assess the distance of reflected objects. In the context of vehicle rear view mirrors this distortion makes it look like other the cars, trucks and buses that are behind the driver are further away than they actually are.

Similarly, those roadside safety mirrors make it look like oncoming traffic is further away than it really is. This is clearly an important disadvantage as it can cause drivers to think they have enough time to safely pull out onto a main road when in fact the reflected oncoming traffic is far closer than suggested from the convex mirror reflections.

Misjudgement due to how convex mirrors make reflected objects look smaller and further away is clearly a disadvantage. And in security applications it can mean a viewer is not able to accurately discern what someone is doing and the items they may be attempting to steal and conceal.

retail security mirror
Convex Ceiling Mounted Retail Security Mirror
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