Is there a law that says that I must have towing mirrors installed if I’m towing my caravan/trailer?
The answer is no, but yes.
While the road rules don’t say explicitly that you must have towing mirrors installed, they do state:
A driver must not drive a motor vehicle unless the driver has a clear view of the road, the traffic ahead, behind and to each side of the driver. Australian Road Rule Regulation 297 (2).
So how is a ‘clear view’ determined?
This is where we refer to the Australian Design standards to understand what a mirror should achieve to ensure a “clear view”. Vehicle Standard (Australian Design Rule 14/02 – Rear Vision Mirrors) 2006 states :
The field of vision must be such that the driver can see at least a 4 m wide, flat, horizontal portion of the road, which is bounded by a plane parallel to the median longitudinal vertical plane and passing through the outermost point of the vehicle on the driver’s side of the vehicle and extends from 20 m behind the driver’s ocular points to the horizon (see Figure 5).
In addition, the road must be visible to the driver over a width of 1 m, which is bounded by a plane parallel to the median longitudinal vertical plane and passing through the outermost point of the vehicle starting from a point 4 m behind the vertical plane passing through the driver’s ocular points.
Let’s explain this visually…
Figure 1 (above) shows how the exterior mirrors are designed to provide a clear view of the road behind. The dashed green lines indicate the line of sight from the driver’s point of view.
Now let’s add in our caravan or large trailer.
You can easily see in Figure 2 (above) how the field of vision is reduced to outside the legislated design standards. This is deemed as not having a ‘clear view’ and you could end up with a hefty fine – depending on where you’re travelling – not to mention the danger you’re putting yourself, your family or passengers, and other vehicles on the road in!
Of course this is also dependant on the size of the mirrors that your SUV or towing vehicle came equipped with and the size of your caravan or trailer. The simple way to see if you ‘need’ towing mirrors, is to stand directly in line with the back corner of your caravan, about 20 metres away and see if you can see your whole face/body in the external mirror (see Figure 3 below). No cheating here! If you can clearly see yourself, without doing any contortions or twisting, then you can probably get .
Now see what a difference adding towing mirrors can make!
In Figure 4 (below), you can see that the the green sight line has moved back along the side of the caravan, the field of vision is restored and you’ve once again got a ‘clear view’ – putting you back on the right side of the law.
The good the bad and the ugly of towing mirrors
If you’ve tried the clip-on-temporary towing mirrors, you might have had varying levels of success. Some are ok, but we’ve heard too many reports of having to readjust them every time a truck or semi-trailer flies past in the opposite direction … or have them work loose and fly off half-way across the Nullarbor! You could also cop a fine if you forget to take them off …
At TJM South Australia we recommend upgrading your mirrors by replacing them with new ones. This is not only a safer option, they're easier to adjust, more secure and stable and they look better on your hard-earned investment.
And if you’re talking replacement mirrors, you can’t beat Clearview Accessories.
Introducing the Next Gen …
The newest addition to the Clearview range are the Next Gen towing mirrors.
Mike from Clearview says: “The Next Gen is a smaller mirror which sits on a double slide and slides right back into the vehicle when not towing just like an OEM mirror. When you hook your van up you simply slide the mirror head out an impressive 180mm, giving the ultimate vision you need to keep you safe when towing.”
The Clearview Accessories Next Gen towing mirror has an extensive list of features and benefits:
- Fully compliant with the towing laws, all Clearview mirrors are ADR compliant
- 4 years of design, engineering and rigorous testing on some of Australia’s most challenging terrain
- Bases are custom designed to fit over 50 vehicles.
- Made from E-Coated and powder coated die-cast aluminium
- Choose from Manual Fold or Power Fold base
- Large top flat glass and bottom convex mirror eliminates all blind spots
- Newly repositioned convex bottom mirror sits higher above the window line improving visibility
- See past the back end of your towing load – great for reverse parking your caravan
- Attaches to the original mirror mounts of your vehicle, so they’re designed for strength –unlike detachable or strap on mirrors
- Sturdy steel arm construction with telescopic 2 stage slide out extension: from normal driving position, first towing position and to extended towing position
- Next Gen mirrors sit close (76mm) to the vehicle when not towing (complying with the law) and extend to 180mm
- Next Gen mirrors come with 3 in 1 Category 5 LED indicator light: includes clearance light & courtesy light. Can also be equipped with Category 6 indicators.
- At normal driving position, the mirrors give superior vision and safety above what an OEM mirror can provide
- 7 years parts warranty
- Comes standard with textured black caps, also available with chrome caps or RAW smooth caps which are designed for painting (can be matched to any colour by a third party auto paint shop)
Clearview towing mirrors are designed and built in Australia and are legal in all states and territories.
Clearview Accessories towing mirrors start at $695 plus installation.
For more information about fitting towing mirrors to your vehicle, contact us and we’ll talk you through the right solution for your vehicle and your RV.
The Clearview Next Gen mirrors are due in-store in early October. Pre-order yours now using the form below – the first 10 pre-orders will get a $50 TJM gift voucher!
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