Australian standards for convex mirrors
Convex mirrors feature a curved surface that gives a distorted perception of distance. They have been allowed on the left side of vehicles for some time, however in 2003 an alteration was made to Australian Design Rule 14/02 to allow the use of mirrors that comply with UN/ECE R46, the European standard for motor vehicle rear view mirrors.
This was done as part of an ongoing program to harmonise Australian motor vehicle construction rules with other internationally recognised standards.
Adoption of the European standard allows convex mirrors to be fitted to both sides of vehicles. The claimed benefit of convex mirrors is that they provide a greater field of view than would be allowed by a flat mirror. The negative is they provide a distorted perception of distance.
RACQ received a small number of enquiries about these mirrors when they first became common fitment, however we now receive only the occasional enquiry, generally from those who have updated their vehicle and are encountering them for the first time.
While it’s fair to say that some drivers do initially have difficulties with the distorted distance perception these mirrors produce, we believe that most adapt to them reasonably quickly.
Convex mirrors should not be relied upon to judge distance when changing lanes, so the importance of shoulder checks to identify the location of other traffic when changing lanes cannot be ignored.