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Aftermarket signal mirrors increase safety

Turn signals on exterior rearview mirrors alert other drivers; retrofit for Corvette is latest option.

By Larry Edsall / Special to The Detroit News

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The Chevrolet Corvette is the latest vehicle that can be outfitted with aftermarket signal mirrors, those exterior rearview mirrors with the built-in turn-signal arrows.

Muth Mirror Systems holds the patent on the mirrors it sells to automakers and as aftermarket vehicle enhancements. A signal mirror for the 1997-2004 Corvette is the company's most recent aftermarket offering.

The standard signal mirror retrofits for the Corvette carry a suggested retail price of $219. Signal mirrors with a heater option to clear away frost or snow are $269.

Muth recommends professional installation because of the electrical wiring involved and because the interior door panels must be removed for installation.

K.W. Muth established his auto supplier company in Sheboygan, Wis., in 1947, but in 1992 Muth LLC sold off its trim, vinyl acoustics and vinyl truck flooring divisions to focus on the original equipment market, aftermarket and glass divisions. The company has produced more than 1 million signal mirrors.

The mirrors use internal light-emitting diodes arranged in an arrow shape. The arrow blinks to indicate a turn to traffic next to the vehicle. The LEDs light up more quickly than conventional turn signals, fast enough to provide a warning to other drivers some 17 feet sooner when vehicles are traveling at 65 mph, according to Muth's Web site, www.kwmuth.com.

Muth also offers a brake module that produces solid arrows in both rearview mirrors when the driver steps on the brake pedal, as well as a multi-function module that uses a strobe effect to indicate the vehicle is backing up, flashes to indicate the door is not properly closed and that emits an arrow "tick" every five seconds as a theft deterrent.

Signal mirrors with a wide-angle feature also are available, as are signal mirrors for motorcycles. Edited by HarleyEarl

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I think the mirrors with a turn signal lite on the bottom of the mirror housing is much more visible, and therefore safer, to the cars in back as well as oncoming, in the direction of the turn. With the turn lite on the bottom, the indicator is visible 180 degrees. When the signal is in the mirror face, only the traffic behind MAY be able to see it!

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I agree, and maybe going further, I think it would be very visible at the leading edge of the mirror housing. It should be made mandatory to have these on new vehicles. Great safety item.

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