The focus on mirrors for today's over-the-road fleet has been on aesthetics. Aero-styled mirrors and mirrors color-keyed to match the truck are available to enhance the overall image of the fleet, as are integrated antennas for a cleaner look. Aerodynamics are also important to operators looking to improve fuel economy. And drivers like the pedestal style mirrors now offered by some truck OEMs to increase the view through the passenger-side window.
Durability and serviceability continue to be the primary characteristics vocational truck users seek in a truck mirror. To meet their needs, some OEMs are offering brackets that are set up to accommodate traditional West Coast mirrors as well as aero-styled models. There's also been great improvement made in reducing vibration so mirrors last longer.
For driver convenience and safety, many fleets are now spec'ing mirrors with add-on features. Hadley, for example, offers mirrors with through-the-glass technology that incorporate things like temperature and ice indicators, as well as turn signals.
The manufacturer recently introduced a new convex mirror called TIC (turn indicator convex) because of the growing popularity of the use of turn signals among fleets seeking additional ways to improve vehicle and driver safety. TIC, Hadley explains, allows them to fit a vehicle, using the West Coast mounting system, with a turn indicator without having to replace the main mirror or spec a separate turn signal because it's built right into the glass of the convex mirror. The manufacturer notes that all of its mirrors are designed for easy servicing with glass that can be replaced in less than 15 seconds should it become damaged. The company's mirrors also feature a patented technology called F.E.T. (frequency enhanced technology) for reduced vibration.
Lang Mekra says four-way main glass adjustability is popular with on-highway fleets because of its greater flexibility over two-way designs. So are fold-away brackets that protect the mirror system and cab in the event of an accident, along with heated convex glass.
In addition to offering a full line of West Coast and Aero-Styled mirrors, Lang Mekra makes Advanced Vision Technology mirrors with integrated features, such as digital temperature displays and LED turn signals. The company says trucking has been interested in this type of technology for a long time, but the cost has been prohibitive. To change that, Lang Mekra has been working to develop new technologies for heavy-duty applications that are cost-effective for fleets.
A company called LaneScan markets to mirror manufacturers, fleets and OEMs technology it's developed to help drivers see what's in the blind spots around their truck. This is where a high percentage of accidents between trucks and passenger cars occur, the company reports. Two LaneScan technology products are available, both of which enable drivers to quickly scan up to six lanes of traffic without the distraction of having to manually reposition their power mirrors when they are through.
The first product, called Go Zone, is a semi-automatic system that's currently being used in numerous vocational and over-the-road truck fleets around the country, with great results, the company reports. With Go Zone, the LaneScan technology incorporated into the mirror remembers a driver's pre-set “home” position and will return to it automatically when a driver is through scanning his blind spots.
LaneScan says its technology is helpful to drivers when making wide right turns as well as merging, changing lanes and backing. This year the company is launching a second product called Auto View, which is incorporated into the truck's fifth wheel and automatically tracks the changing angle of the trailer to the tractor. A signal is sent to the mirrors so they will automatically rotate and provide the driver with a constant view of the sides and rear corners of his/her trailer. The first units were installed for in-the-field testing last month.
Grote, Truck-Lite and Peterson Manufacturing also all offer a full range of mirror products to the industry, including heated and remote-controlled West Coast mirrors, convex mirrors, light truck and van mirrors, replacement mirror heads, and rear view mirrors. K-10 manufactures the Eyeball mirror, designed to be used as a supplement to the traditional West Coast mirror to help drivers reduce right-side blind spot accidents.
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PETERSON MFG. CO.