What about blind spots on the LEFT side of the car?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Sep 01, 1992

Dear Tom and Ray:

I read your recent column about blind spots on the right side of your car. But what about the blind spot on the left side? Why not use a wide angle mirror there, too? Is there any thing I can do to help with this problem?
Betty Lou

TOM: Well, you are right that there is a blind spot on the left hand side of the car, but we don't think a convex mirror is the answer.

RAY: You really need the convex--or wide angle--mirror on the right side. If you're changing lanes on the highway, and moving to the right, you can try to look over your shoulder and see what's happening there. But you'll notice that there are a lot of things in your way. There are two or three pillars that hold up the roof, the hitchhiker with big hair you picked up at the last truck stop, and your mother in law in the back seat.

TOM: And as you look to your right, cars can be hidden behind these obstructions--especially small cars. What the convex mirror on the right side offers you is a wide view, which lets you see around these obstructions, and see what's happening on that entire side of the car. And that's why we're in favor of it.

RAY: The drawback of the convex mirror is that it distorts sizes and distances. It makes things look smaller or further away than they really are. But considering the benefits you get, and that there's really no other way to see what's happening on the right side, that's a drawback we're willing to live with.

TOM: On the driver's side, however, there is a simple alternative. You turn your head. It's possible to see if anything is in the left side blind spot by turning your head and taking a quick look. And that allows you to drive the rest of the time without the distortion the convex mirror provides.

RAY: And by the way, this method has been unanimously endorsed by the Chiropractic Research Institute for Cranial Kinetics (CRICK), because the association believes it can be a major source of new business in the 90's.

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