Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Should you do this in a car?

Do you leave home in a rush in the morning and continue your beautification routine in the car? Do you floss, shave, pick your nose, put make-up or lipstick while driving assuming no one around will pay any attention? Well, sometimes... Then, this is a great puzzle for you:

Illustration by Mike Kline, distributed under CCL

If you can see a driver behind you in your car's rear view mirror, does it mean this driver can spy on your beautification routine? Please explain your answer.

Answers accepted all day long on Friday, on our Family Puzzle Marathon. They will be hidden until Saturday morning (EST) and everyone who provided a correct solution will get a puzzle point.


Dennis said...

Is it possible for someone in the car behind you to spy on your driving beauty routine? Yes, it is possible. However, I don't think it's very likely. The person in the other car would have to be in such a position that they could see the part of your face that you're working on, and that's tough when you're so far from the mirror - most of the length of one car plus the space between them, plus the space from the front edge to the other driver. Think of your experience in the car. Have you been able to look at the rearview mirror of the car in front of you and see the other driver? Sure... but how much of that driver could you actually see? Not much!


Donna said...

I don't really know the math behind it, but I do know that if I want to spy on my kids in the back seat, and adjust my mirror to see them, then they also can see me in the mirror. So, it seems like it would be true.....although they are much farther away from me than my kids are, and I can see much more of them in my mirror. Also, I don't think I've ever seen the face of the driver in front of me in his/her rear view mirror....maybe his/her eyes. The person behind me could tell probably that I am putting on makeup without actually seeing my face in the mirror though. Sorry ....these are just thoughts and not really an answer, but if you are asking if the person behind me could see my entire face, I would have to say the answer is no.

Donna said...

To add to what I just said, it is because of the person's distance from the mirror. I would be too close for my follower to see me completely in my mirror.

Tom said...

First, I hope very few people do this, as it must be nearly as distracting as texting. I never do either one. But anyway...
1) it probably depends on the lighting, illumination and reflected sun.
2) the culprit driver in front is, after all, facing the wrong way.
3) there would be an image-size issue, I think.
4) probably you mean the interior rear view mirror, and if one is applying lipstick then that mirror is probably not pointed to see the driver behind; but if the front driver CAN easily see the following driver, then the sightlines should (technically) permit the reverse. Tom

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I thought about this on my commute into work this morning, looking in my rear view window at stoplights and at the driver ahead of me...
Here is what I concluded:
(1) that driver you can see in your rearview mirror - they really can't see you back. You are close to your mirror and you see a large field behind you, which includes that driver. But when they look from afar into your mirror, the angles are such that they might see a little of you, but they can't see your whole face. Mostly, what they see is a direct view of you (not through the mirror) from behind, so they can tell if you're applying make-up, they really can't see your face.

(2) however, just as you can see that driver behind you, the driver AHEAD of you is the one you should be worrying about peeking in on you. You can't see them, but if you're picking your nose, that driver ahead of you may well be seeing it and be totally grossed out.


Wang said...

I'm going to say no based on experience from both being the driver in front of the mirror and the driver behind trying to look at the mirror to see if I could see anything.

I don't know if this is the right explanation but the driver's rear view mirror almost acts like a focal point where everything comes into the mirror and the closer you are to the focal point, the more you can see of everything. If the driver behind you looks into the mirror, they can't see very much (because of the distance they are from the mirror).

If you are closer, you still don't see as much (ie. if you're in the backseat and looking at the rear view mirror, you can sort of see the driver's face at the right angle) so the short answer is I wouldn't worry about people behind you spying, I'd be watching out for cars beside you.

Unknown said...

The driver behind you would not be able to see you in your mirror, generally, if you can see yourself. To see yourself in the mirror, you need to aim it down and to the left. To see out the back window of a car the mirror needs to be aimed at the rear center of the window. In that position, the driver behind you can your face in your rearview mirror, but you cannot see your own face at that angle.

Maria said...

Saturday morning. All the answers are revealed.

I think you are all right. We can conclude:

1)In general if you can see someone's face in a mirror, this person can look back and see at least a part of your face. The math of it is explained here:If I can see You, You can see Me.

2)The closer you are to the mirror, the large is the reflected view that you see. So, the driver will see reflected in a rear view mirror his kids on the back seat as well as details of the beautification routine of the person in a car behind. Kids on the back seat will see you picking your nose in the reflection. But the driver in the car behind you, will see only a small part of your face. Usually your eyes. It is still possible for this driver to guess what you are doing. But the real spy is the driver of the car in front of you. She has a great view in her rear view mirror.

3)These beautification procedures are likely to require you tilting the mirror toward you. In this case, you won't see the face of the driver behind you and she won't see you.

Hurray to everyone who answered and puzzle points for: Dennis, Donna, Tom, Kim, Wang, Pat. I see that Wang reached his 20th puzzle point and next week he deserves to be wrapped inside a puzzle.

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