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Truck Topics

Test Drive: Trading Mirrors for Video Monitors

By Jim Park -
Posted Nov 8th 2019 1:26PM

I have previously expressed a high degree of skepticism about replacing traditional mirrors with camera and monitor systems. Glass mirrors work well enough and drivers are very familiar with them. I can’t think of another safety system on a truck that drivers rely upon more heavily and have grown more accustomed to than mirrors.

Mirrors do leave areas of less-than-ideal visibility, but drivers compensate by looking twice at those so-called blind spots. Many trucks are fitted with fender-mounted mirrors (often called rookie sticks) that fill the blanks in quite nicely and are valued even by some veteran drivers.

I have heard many new tractor-trailer drivers say getting used to their mirrors was nearly as challenging as learning to shift a non-synchronized transmission. It does take time to mentally compensate for the lack of depth in a mirror, and to learn where the end of the trailer is relative to a certain point in the image reflected in the mirror.