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Comparing side mirrors blind spots - American vs European Tesla Model S (video)

IgorAntarov

Member
May 28, 2015
54
63
Moscow Tesla Club team have testedAmerican vs European Tesla Model S blind spots difference.
That was done mainly for the russian tesla owners (we have a lot of american teslas here on the roads). But may be ineresting to someone here.

Here is a short video (russian voice, english subtitles - turn them on):



You may know, that US and Europe has different standards for side mirrors. In Europe you get curved mirror that gives smaller blind spot but objects appear to look smaller (like they were far away). In US you'll get more realistic image, but the blind spot is larger.


It attracted our attention after one Tesla owner got in a dangerous situation on the road because of the blind spot. He has an american Tesla Model S and here in Russia we have an european mirror standart (everyone got used to it).

We decided to test what is the actual difference between American and European Model S blind spots and what does it means for a driver.
So, we made measurements with two cars, and got ~35% difference in a left blind spot zone size.

In deed it means that in a case of american standard mirrors - there could be hidden car of tesla's size in a distance of 180 cm (6 feet) in the left blind spot zone. For the european mirrors this distance would be 350 cm (11.5 feet).

Our conclusion: If you got used to european mirrors it's dangerous to drive an american tesla.

PS: And that why an autopilot with a blind spot collision warning is a really good thing to have. :)

PPS: We're going to shoot more videos of that kind. So if it's relevant, I post some of them on TMC.
 
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I've driven with European mirrors in the past and have liked them over the US mirrors. On our last car (a VW Jetta/Golf Sportwagen TDI), I purchased European mirrors and installed them on our car. I think they offer better visibility. If its possible to purchase European mirrors, I'd be interested in getting a set, or at the very least the driver's side mirror.
 

IgorAntarov

Member
May 28, 2015
54
63
I'm curious it there are any legal restrictions on replacing mirrors to EU standart in US?

There are some information on the wiki: Wing mirror - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
But for me it's not clear if there are any strict limitations on that.

ps: Yep, the swap really makes sense only for the driver's side mirror. The passenger side blind spots are the same for EU and US, as our test revealed.
 
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pete8314

Vendor
Jun 4, 2012
2,360
678
DFW, ex UK
Nice work, great video.

I have a couple of stick-on blind spot mirrors for this reason; they're not the most attractive things, but they do a great job. I've considered selling them on my site, but not sure there's enough demand. In my pre-blindspot detection Model S, I wouldn't be without them.
 

vitaliy

Member
Jun 17, 2015
296
75
Tysons, VA
Thanks for doing that video. I wouldn't recommend replacing mirrors, but I do recommend everyone to get pair of small blind spot mirrors for $5 from any auto parts store.
 

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That's what I did and it works pretty well. It's cheap and easy and doesn't look that bad and also doesn't interfere with the folding of the mirrors. They can also be easily removed if you end up not liking them.
Replacing the interior rear-view mirror wouldn't help much as the back seat headrests pretty well obliterate any view out the back window. At least for the second generation seats.
 

mikeash

Active Member
Oct 26, 2014
1,105
709
Fairfax, VA, USA
This is one of the nice things about autopilot. You can really take your time to thoroughly check your blind spots before changing lanes.

When I was car shopping a couple of years ago, all the Fords I tried had a little section on the mirrors which was separated out and curved, basically an OEM version of the stick-on ones you can buy at the auto parts store. It was a really nice feature, and I don't understand why they don't all do that.
 
This is one of the nice things about autopilot. You can really take your time to thoroughly check your blind spots before changing lanes.

When I was car shopping a couple of years ago, all the Fords I tried had a little section on the mirrors which was separated out and curved, basically an OEM version of the stick-on ones you can buy at the auto parts store. It was a really nice feature, and I don't understand why they don't all do that.
It seems to me that those small convex mirrors are too small for a quick glance. One just cannot judge the context.

A better solution would be additional cameras and a wrap around composite display on the touch-screen. The backup camera is fine for parking but you need a flat image plane to judge objects farther away, especially if they too are moving. Fish-eye lens are not good for blind-spot judgments.
 

cgiGuy

Active Member
Jul 9, 2013
1,510
1,124
Everywhere, Nowhere
It seems to me that those small convex mirrors are too small for a quick glance. One just cannot judge the context.

A better solution would be additional cameras and a wrap around composite display on the touch-screen. The backup camera is fine for parking but you need a flat image plane to judge objects farther away, especially if they too are moving. Fish-eye lens are not good for blind-spot judgments.

But when a car is in your blind spot it's like 6 feet from your mirror. Those small mirrors would be half filled with the vehicle in the blind spot. Loved them and had on all my cars in the past. On the MS.. I leave rear cam up all the time which takes care of the blind spot.
 
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What would be quite nice, is if our European cousin Tesla drivers were to offer to purchase and ship the mirror glass to a fellow owner abroad.

I have the part numbers for the premium and non premium glass, and would love it if someone would get one for me

On my visit to the Tesla factory, I tried hard to buy the glass, but was told in no uncertain terms they would by be selling one to me

The flat glass on the driver side is the only real gripe I have, and coming from the UK I am still very used to convex variants
 

ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,474
14,485
West Vancouver, British Columbia
I'm curious it there are any legal restrictions on replacing mirrors to EU standart in US?

There are some information on the wiki: Wing mirror - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
But for me it's not clear if there are any strict limitations on that.
I am not aware of any restrictions in the US on car owners modifying their side mirrors after they have purchased their car.
On my Roadster I added convex mirrors to both side mirrors. Huge improvement. Have not modified by S because the rear view camera takes care of the rear quarter blind spots, in my opinion.
 

cgiGuy

Active Member
Jul 9, 2013
1,510
1,124
Everywhere, Nowhere

ZBB

Emperor
Feb 27, 2013
1,575
295
Scottsdale

I was going to mention that technique. I started using that method to set my mirrors over a decade ago. Took a few days to get used to it, but it really works well and helps avoid most blind spots. Setting it up properly nearly eliminates the need to look over a shoulder -- you have total spatial awareness while looking forward.

I've also driven both US-style and Europe-style mirrors and prefer the Euro-style split mirrors. The wide-angle view of the outside edge on both sides is helpful...
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Supporting Member
Mar 8, 2012
20,131
25,455
Texas
I was going to mention that technique. I started using that method to set my mirrors over a decade ago..
Agreed. The head-wobble method works well. I've used it for so long I can't recall when I started. However, the camera plus a head check is quicker as there is only one place to do the primary look to see both sides. I also like the point and speak method that was posted on one the FB forums. I hadn't heard of that before, but I'm certainly going to try it out.
 
A lot depends on how you set your mirrors. I have done this on a tester and I always set mine up so that as a car exits my rearview mirror it is already present in my sideview mirror. Quite easy to setup. You do sacrifice the view of the rear quarter panel of the car but that is unnecessary on the highway and easily solved in parking situations by a shift in the seat.
Translation, nearly no blindspot for highway travel and an easily manageable blindspot for parking/reversing.

- - - Updated - - -

Sorry I missed the post about the car and driver article. It is exactly what I was talking about
 

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