Towing Mirrors vs Rear Camera?
Do you really need extended mirrors if you have a rear camera? Short answer – yes. Longer answer – YES YOU DO…
There has been several comments of late on social media by people stating I don’t need towing mirrors as I have evolved to the 21st century and have a rear view camera installed. Well guess what, the Police and Regulators still work on the 20th Century and will fine you if you don’t have adequate rear view mirrors installed.
So what is adequate?
Adequate means your mirrors are wider than the load being towed and can see down each side of the caravan.
In this lovely pencil sketch above, you will see the Australian rules for mirrors. Note that you must be able to see the area 20m behind the vehicle from level with the widest part of the vehicle (or towed item, depending which is wider) out 4m. Now we add a caravan behind and look what happens to your standard mirrors with the red and yellow sections in the below image
So now you have this blind spot shown in red where the standard mirror can not see anything due to the extra width of the caravan.
Police have stated in a crack down that if you do not have towing mirrors installed, they will wind down the windows and measure the outer edges of your mirrors, If these are not wider than the widest part of the caravan, you will be fined. Simple.
I have fitted clamp on mirrors, the Milenco Aero 3 and they do the job fine (for the Jeep to fit them on top of the mirror like I have you will need to replace the flat rubber clamps with V rubbers, I picked up a set from Everything Caravans). You can also get replacement mirrors of course, however these are a permanent fixture and a lot more expensive.
Rear cameras of course do still have a part to play and we use one whenever towing to replace the lost vision from have a big caravan blocking the rear view mirror. Many vans come standard with the camera installed (ours did) and I fitted a monitor that clips over the now useless rear view mirror.
Do you need to remove them when not towing??
Short answer is yes, you should not have any object protruding more than 150mm from the widest part of the vehicle body (or combined vehicle, i.e. its legal to have them on when the van is attached). As most mirrors will stick out well past the side of the vehicle they should be removed.