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What Are Convex Mirrors Used For?

Convex Mirrors are used to help store owners check for shoplifters, to see what’s coming round the corner on a road or warehouse and to shield our eyes from the sun’s rays (via sunglasses).

Convex mirrors are so useful and ubiquitous we sometimes barely register them. They’re even hard at work in the Hubble telescope, working in tandem with concave mirrors to bring us magnificent images from the deepest regions of the universe. Convex mirrors are versatile, for sure, but what is it that makes them so?

How do Convex Mirrors work?

First, a quick reminder of what convex mirrors are, and how they work. They have a curved mirrored surface that bulges outwards and this affects the way light hits them. Objects look smaller and further away than they are in real life. Crucially, the objects are still the right way up and the convex mirror allow us to see a wider viewpoint than normal – so we can ‘see’ round corners or ‘see’ round that bend in the road.

Diagram showing how Convex Mirrors Work

What are Convex Mirrors used for?

One of the main uses for Convex Mirrors is for security. If you’re tied to a shop checkout, you’ll need a convex mirror to see what’s going on at the back of the shop or the end of an aisle – spaces that otherwise you couldn’t monitor. A convex mirror placed near an ATM will allow customers to check there’s no one directly behind them before they punch in their PIN number. And if you need to check the underside of vehicles for bombs or other terrorist devices, a small convex mirror on a rod will allow you to check that’s all clear (car repairers also use this type of mirror in their work).

Convex Mirror Under Car

Not far behind is safety. If there’s a tree, a bend in the road, concealed entrance or any other immovable object blocking the view, it would crazily expensive and impractical to move the road or the object. Instead, a convex mirror designed for outdoor use is a cost-effective and safe way of showing drivers that the road is clear so that they can pull out safely. A slew of research from around the world, including the UK’s Department for Transport1, has vouched for their effectiveness.

Using Convex Mirrors Indoors

Indoors, convex mirrors have an important safety function too, alerting us to that trolley that’s coming around the corner or the forklift truck that we need to wait for, and avoiding potentially dangerous or expensive collisions. A convex mirror allows employees to ‘see’ round the blind spot and move around safely.

Convex Mirror in Factory


Do you need a convex mirror for your business?

For many business owners it's highly likely as Convex Mirrors have so many applications, from inspections to road safety, security and collision avoidance.

If you’re a retail business, you’ll almost definitely need at least one, ditto if your drivers need to negotiate any blind spots coming onto or off your premises, or if you need to carry out security inspections or repairs on vehicles. Likewise, convex mirrors are cost-effective safety tools for premises with corridors or corners with blind spots.

If you’ve any questions about convex mirrors, and which ones would be right for your company, please do get in touch with us at First Mats. We have a wide range of convex mirrors for indoor and outdoor use, and we’d be happy to help you find the convex mirror that best suits your budget and requirements.

Please see the First Mats range of Convex Mirrors for more information.


1 Road Safety Research Report No. 111, Department of Transport, 2011