(Translated from German)

Press report BFR issue 3/1995 (Berliner Fahrschul Rundschau)

“Right wing mirror

While every normal citizen has been convinced for years that a right-hand exterior mirror is not only useful on motor vehicles with a closed body, but also on simple cars, while the industry has been equipping its cars with such mirrors as standard for years, it is usually not available to the driver, i.e. the learner driver, in driving school vehicles. The majority of driving instructors still use this mirror for themselves today and let the learner driver work exclusively with the interior mirror and the head turn to the right, sometimes several times. The rapporteur freely admits that until not too long ago he also belonged to this species of driving instructor. Two circumstances have prompted him to change this. The first is the realization that the right-hand side mirror is becoming increasingly important due to changing traffic situations. One example of this is the special lane, particularly in the middle of the road, which is most pronounced on Kurfürstendamm. Turning right here often means having to stop and wait in the left-hand lane in front of the turn lane because traffic in the special lane makes it impossible to cross. It is not uncommon for a vehicle with a closed body to be waiting close behind you, which considerably restricts your field of vision when looking over your shoulder. Finally, cabs, for example, can be expected at any time, approaching at a speed of significantly more than 50 km/h in the special lane.

The only way out of this situation is to use a right-hand wing mirror, which allows you to see far enough past the vehicle behind you into the special lane. When normally changing lanes to the right, you are in the flow, the vehicle behind you is usually not so close and the speed difference to the traffic in the right-hand lane is not too great. A clear glance over the shoulder may still provide sufficient safety here. The same applies when turning right. Once you are in the right-hand lane, the remaining traffic on your right, on a cycle path for example, does not approach at speeds of 60 to 70 km/h, as in the example above.

Secondly, most of the solutions offered so far have been anything but technically satisfactory for me. Some seemed to me to restrict the field of vision to the front and side too much, others seemed out of place and others were too complicated to use, especially when it came to mounting and dismounting. Now there is a solution on the market that I find extremely convincing. As it can be purchased not only from Berliner Fahrschuldienst GmbH but also elsewhere, the association’s press officer can say so clearly without being suspected of subliminal advertising. We are talking about the new additional mirror for driving instructors, which was developed by Mr. Bergkessel with the support of the Driving Instructor Association Berlin e.V. over a period of three years.

The mirror is pleasantly small. It hardly impairs the view of the rest of the traffic. The unconventional shape is the result of the desire to keep the mirror surface as small as possible while complying with the relevant regulations, such as the minimum diagonal dimension. As far as I know, this mirror is the only one with an EGE approval mark. When fitted on the right, it offers a sufficiently large field of vision for the driving instructor. In the Golf III, for example, it is larger than that of the original mirror, as the latter is designed for use by the driver and consequently only has limited adjustment options for the driving instructor. The cladding of the image is kept within limits, as is the vibration, even at speeds of 130 km/h and more. The additional mirror is easy to adjust and, after some practice fitting it in the same place every time, is also sufficiently consistent. Installation and removal are actually amazingly simple. Before driving through a car wash or when parked for a long time, the mirror can be removed in a matter of seconds and then replaced.

In the past, there have been reports of colleagues having to buy new mirrors three times within a quarter of a year because the ones they had fitted – although firmly screwed on – had been stolen. Vandalism? Gangs of thieves? Or even driving instructors whose desire to use additional mirrors is greater than their willingness to buy one? The chairman would then possibly interpret this as proof of the difficult economic situation of driving schools in Berlin.
Be that as it may, Mr. Bergkessel’s mounting patent puts an end to this, as the mirror can be removed in a flash and placed inside the car without any effort.

The disadvantages of the mirror under discussion can only be guessed at present. It may be possible that the rubber belt becomes brittle and less elastic after a long time under the influence of the weather. It is also possible that the snow buckle of the second strap wears out after frequent disassembly. After three months of use, however, this is not even noticeable.

To summarize, because of the small mirror circumference and the simple assembly and not least because of the comparatively low price, this mirror is highly recommended.

Olaf Kobow”