Why are the passenger-side and driver-side mirrors different?

By Product Expert | Posted in FAQs on Friday, June 4th, 2021 at 8:44 am
Sunset in side mirror

Objects in Mirror are Closer than They Appear…but why?

Here at CrossPointe Motor Cars in Winchester, VA, we like showing you practical things. Want to know how to mix coolant for your vehicle. We’ve done that. Want to know why your car has a grille? We’ve covered that one too. Today, we thought we’d go over something that affects everyone: side mirrors.

Here’s why the passenger-side and driver-side mirrors are different. Keep reading to learn more.



close up on passenger mirror of car

Passenger-side vs Driver-side Mirrors

Passenger-side mirrors are curved slightly outward (convex), while driver-side mirrors are flat. Passenger-side mirrors are convex in order to give the driver a wider field of view and minimize blind spots. However, since they are convex, objects that you see in them, like other vehicles, appear farther apart than they actually are. Driver-side mirrors are completely flat, shwoing you a 1:1 reflection of what’s behind you. You may have noticed, though, that the field of view is much narrower. By combining the two, the driver can—at a glance—see what’s around them without having to constantly swivel their head.

Do All Vehicles Use the Same Mirror Layout?

In the US, all passengers vehicles have a flat mirror on the driver’s side and a convex mirror on the passenger’s side. This isn’t necessarily true for large vehicles like semis, dump trucks, buses, or other large vehicles that require a special license to operate. Our friends across the pond in Europe do it a little differently, funnily enough. Both the driver-side and passenger-side mirror are convex on all passenger vehicles.


What do seatbelts actually do?


How to Save Big on a Used Vehicle in Winchester, VA

Are you looking around for a used vehicle that’s high quality and affordable? We have you covered. Head on over to our Used Specials webpage for deals on used models in our inventory. And don’t forget to use our value your trade-in tool to get a market-value quote on your current vehicle.

Back To Top