Despite its relatively simple concept, convex mirrors are a useful product for different homes and commercial organisations. Finding the right mirror can be a very cost-effective way to increase security and safety by giving you excellent visibility wherever you are. We take a closer look at convex mirrors and why they are used.
What is a convex mirror?
A convex mirror is a curved mirror, where the mirror lens curves outwards to provide a wider angle of viewing. These mirrors are sometimes referred to as diverging mirrors, convex traffic mirrors, or convex security mirrors and they can be used in any location to improve safety and security.
Whilst a convex mirror offers a wider view than a standard mirror, the image will be slightly distorted. The centre of the mirror which bulges out the furthest and where the light hits first is often referred to as the focus. If the mirror has been positioned correctly, this allows the mirror to focus on a particular spot.
Why are convex mirrors used for traffic safety?
Convex mirrors are used by many different industries and in various indoor and outdoor locations, including roads, driveway exits, or on industrial estates.
Convex mirrors can be used anywhere additional viewing is required to reduce the potential of an accident. This could include different areas where there is traffic, such as on busy main road where hedges obscure the view, or in a warehouse, where forklift trucks operate.
Some common uses of convex mirrors include:
- Traffic or outdoor safety: Convex traffic mirrors are placed on the roadside to help drivers navigate blind spots successfully. Homeowners whose driveways may be on a bend might put them at the exit, so they know the road is clear before they pull out. Convex mirrors may also be positioned outside busy schools where visibility is limited, or at busy junctions so cars can navigate the area more safely.
- Industrial safety: Convex security mirrors can be used to provide additional visibility to cover all blind spots in construction sites, warehouses, and factories. They can either be installed in a static location, such as in and around vehicle compounds, entrances and exits, or delivery and dispatch areas. They can also be used on heavy vehicles, such as forklift trucks to make operation safer, so drivers can negotiate tighter spaces more easily.
What other uses are there for convex mirrors?
As well as for improving traffic safety, there are many other uses for convex security mirrors. These include:
- Indoor surveillance: Convex security mirrors may be used as a practical and low-cost surveillance and monitoring tool in retail shops and stores and will help to improve safety and offer greater theft prevention.
- Pool safety: Convex mirrors are often installed in high locations in swimming pools, giving lifeguards or parents a complete view of the pool.
- Anti-vandalism: These mirrors are designed to improve safety for pedestrians in areas such as underpasses and underground car parks. They can also be placed anywhere as a deterrent to vandals, who may pose a threat to your property or belongings. These mirrors are particularly hard-wearing.
- Vehicle inspections: These small convex mirrors are placed on the end of a pole. They are used by the police to inspect the underside of vehicles, to reduce risks associated with theft and terrorism.
- Institution safety: These mirrors are designed for high-risk locations, including prisons, police cells, secure hospitals, and psychiatric institutions. They meet certain requirements, such as having an anti-ligature design and are designed to provide extra safety.
What are the other benefits of using traffic convex mirrors for security?
Aside from the wide range of applications, convex mirrors offer a wealth of other benefits. These include:
- Cost-efficient and long-lasting: Convex mirrors are designed out of durable and lightweight materials, such as acrylic, polycarbonate, and stainless steel. They are quick and easy to install, with no specialist labour needed. They will only require minimal maintenance to keep them looking good.
- Wide choice of models and placement: Convex mirrors can be placed in a variety of places. Every modelled is designed exactly for the applications in mind.
- Additional security: Convex mirrors are often used in tandem with other security features, such as CCTV systems, so you can extend the field of view.
- Improve traffic flow: Having convex mirrors at busy traffic junctions and intersections will help to improve the flow of traffic.
How to choose the right convex security mirror
Convex mirrors are very versatile and are available in a range of styles, colours, and configurations to suit. There are a number of things you will need to clarify before you choose your mirror, including:
- Indoor or outdoor use: Indoor and outdoor convex mirrors may have different features. For example, outdoor convex mirrors may have anti-frost and anti-condensation features.
- Distance and angle: Convex mirrors come in a range of sizes and shapes. Take note of the distance and then select a mirror with the right size and curvature. Options include: Full dome, for a 360-degree view; half dome, for a 180-degree view; and quarter dome, for a 90-degree view.
- Size: The size of the mirror you choose is important. The bigger the mirror, the more visible area. When thinking about the size, consider what you will see, where you plan to install the mirror and the maximum visibility you want. A mirror that is too small will not provide adequate viewing visibility.
- Material: Convex mirrors are available in a range of lightweight materials, such as acrylic and polycarbonate. Acrylic has better reflective properties than glass and is ideal for general use. Polycarbonate is virtually unbreakable, so is a good choice for traffic security mirrors. Stainless steel is also robust but can corrode, so it is not an ideal choice as a traffic mirror.
- Properties: Many convex mirrors come with specific properties such as anti-frost, UV resistant or anti-condensation features, or self-cleaning glass.
How to install a convex mirror to get the best use out of it
Each convex mirror will need to be installed differently and each of our traffic security mirror will come with its own kit. Always use the instructions provided with each product to ensure your convex mirror is assembled and mounted for optimal performance.
Do I need planning permission for a traffic mirror?
If you plan to put your traffic security mirror on private land, you do not require planning permission. If you are unsure, or you wish to put your mirror on the opposite side of the road to your home, for example, make sure you check with your local council planning office for authorisation first.
How do I clean my convex traffic mirror?
Most mirrors will require very little maintenance. Outdoor security mirrors will benefit from being wiped with a cloth or being cleaned with soapy water to remove any debris and grime, that may cause scratches.
Where can I get my convex mirror from?
Here at Barriers Direct, we offer many different types of convex mirrors designed for different purposes. Browse our range now or talk to our sales team, who will be delighted to help.