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Convex Traffic Mirrors For Road Safety

This article covers the use of Convex Mirrors for Traffic Mirrors.  For more information on our mirror selection, please feel free to call or email us and we would be happy to help.


Convex Traffic MirrorTraffic mirrors are safety enhancing specialty convex mirrors which make navigating dangerous intersections, drives and high risk accident areas safer and less stressful.  If you have demanding road conditions with hills, dangerous curves, impaired visibility, or high volume and fast moving traffic installing a traffic mirror will reduce the likelihood of accidents and will keep you, other motorists and pedestrians  free from injury.  Just think about this, the cost of a traffic mirror is negligible compared to the cost of an accident.  From a monetary perspective, accidents are exponentially more expensive than even the most costly of mirrors. From a safety standpoint, a convex traffic mirror just may even save your or someone else’s life so what a immeasurable return on investment.  

Why a Traffic Mirror Should Be Convex

A traffic mirror is a convex mirror that has been developed for use outdoors in order to withstand the elements. The convex design of the mirror provides a wider field of view than a standard flat mirror because the convex lens is curved outwards versus the flat design of a standard mirror. This allows increased visibility of the subject area and helps:

1)      Increase your reaction time when dealing with oncoming traffic and/or

2)      Increase your view around objects such as landscaping, signs and buildings which may obstruct your view.

 What Features To Look For In A Traffic Mirror

 There are several important features to consider when selecting a traffic mirror. The first is selecting the proper lens type:

  • Acrylic convex mirror/lens
  • Unbreakable convex mirror/lens

The unbreakable convex mirror has a lens designed to survive punishing impacts that would otherwise destroy your basic convex mirror with an acrylic lens. Installed where vandalism or risk of flying objects from lawn care equipment, a convex mirror with an unbreakable lens will keep you from constantly replacing damaged traffic mirrors. If the likelihood of damage is very low then it might not be necessary to spend the additional cost on the unbreakable mirrors.

The next decision to make is what type of backing material is needed for your application:

  • Indoor/Outdoor Backing
  • ABS Plastic Backing
  • Steel Backing

The backing material is the surface behind the mirror’s lens and what binds it to the mounting terminals and hardware. Indoor/Outdoor backing is constructed of a fiberboard material with a weather resistant coating – choose this type of backing if the mirror will be sheltered from direct exposure to sunlight and moisture. The ABS plastic backing is a durable, light weight material that may be used outdoors in all but the harshest weather conditions.  Steel backing is the most durable and can be used in virtually any weather.

What Size Works Best

Generally, convex mirrors less than 26” in diameter are not recommended for use as a traffic mirror as they are too small to provide optimal visibility even at close range.  The larger the diameter mirror the greater the visibility and best coverage.  Most two land roads are between 20’-30’ in width. If there are additional lanes (turn lanes, 3-4 lanes highways) the best practice is to add an additional 20’ per lane.  

Calculate the distance in feet between your position and where you intend to place the mirror:

  • < 26’ to 26’ = 26” convex mirror
  • 26’ to 30’ = 30”  convex mirror
  • 30’-36’ = 36” convex mirror
  • > 36’ = 36” convex mirror. Multiple mirrors may be necessary

How Many Mirrors Do I Need

Without being in the application this is virtually impossible to provide the best answer to this question but there are a few guideline to follow.

  • If you need to see in just one direction (just right or just left) and the distance from you and the mirror is less than 40’, then usually just one mirror is needed. If that distance is greater than 40’ then you probably need to use multiple mirrors.
  •  If you need to see in multiple directions (right and left for example) then you may be better served by two traffic mirrors versus just one.  

In complex applications with multiple lanes of traffic and high traffic areas, you may need to enlist the services of a traffic engineer or your local DOT.