Trivia 014: Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear

Hello all, sorry for not getting this out sooner. I was busy pulling overtime at my job preparing for a special event. But now that’s over, so I have found some time to write this. As a result, this week’s trivia is a little shorter than normal. I plan to hopefully build up a stock of some of these so that I have a few extra in case something like this happens again. I didn’t want to miss a week, though, so here is this week’s trivia.


OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR. A common refrain, found on a car’s side mirror. This is because the side mirror of a car has a convex shape. This shape allows the driver to see a wider field of view than would be possible with a flat mirror. However, because of the way it bends the rays of light, this causes objects to become slightly smaller. As a result, they look like they’re slightly further away. It’s a subtle difference, but one that can be quite important if you’re traveling down the highway at 60 mph.

However, if you examine your car’s mirrors, you will notice that only the passenger-side mirror will bear this legend. That is because in the United States, the driver’s side mirror must be flat. So objects in that mirror are, in fact, just as far as they appear. In other countries, both mirrors can be convex, so this description will appear on both.

Though this trivia is short and simple, I think it’s quite interesting. The phrase is so ubiquitous that everyone knows it. Yet because of its commonality, many people haven’t ever noticed that it only appears on one of their car’s mirrors.


Next week’s trivia will be longer (and on time). I’ve already picked out the topic, and I am quite excited for it.

If you know anyone who would like to receive these, please have them send an email to [email protected] And if you’re disgusted with my tardiness, let me know and I can take you off the list.

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