Identifying Car Blind Spots and Staying Safe on the Road
If you've ever taken a driver's training course, you probably remember being taught the importance of always being aware of your surroundings while behind the wheel. This includes not only checking your mirrors frequently, but paying attention to what's going on outside your side- and rear windows as well.
Still, no matter how diligent you are about checking your mirrors and being aware of your surroundings while driving, there is always one lurking danger: your car blind spot. By knowing what a blind spot is and how to identify one, you can stay safer while driving and reduce your chances of being in an accident.
What is a Car Blind Spot?
Specifically, a blind spot refers to an area (or multiple areas) on a vehicle that cannot be easily seen via windows or a mirror. There are many factors that can create or contribute to a blind spot. In some cases, it is simply the vehicle's design that causes a blind spot. A headrest may get in the way of the driver seeing out of a rear window. Passengers can also create blind spots, especially in smaller cars.
The most common areas where blind spots exist on cars are around the side windows and towards the rear of the car.
Dangers of Car Blind Spots
When your car has a blind spot, you may have a harder time being able to see possible dangers while driving. For example, while looking to change lanes on the freeway, your blind spot may hinder you from seeing a vehicle next to you. As a result, you may end up causing an accident if you try to merge without seeing the vehicle. A car blind spot may also prevent you from seeing when other drivers are operating their vehicles dangerously.
Identifying a Car Blind Spot
Whether you've recently purchased a new car or have never given much thought to the blind spots in your existing car, it's important that every driver be able to identify their own blind spots.
The process of finding blind spots in your car is pretty simple. Begin by driving in the right lane of a busy road; make note as you see any vehicles coming up from the left lane to pass you. Using your rear-view mirror and side-view mirror, follow the vehicle as it passes you. As soon as you can no longer see the car in your rear- or side-view mirror, you should be able to see it in your peripheral vision. If not, then the gap between the two is where your vehicle's blind spot occurs.
Sometimes, you can avoid a blind spot by adjusting your mirrors accordingly, but this is not always the case.
Taking these steps to detect blind spots is a must any time you're purchasing a new car, driving somebody else's car, or using a rental car.
Stay Safe With a Blind Spot Mirror or Blind Spot Sensor
The good news is that vehicles are being made safer than ever with features such as blind spot mirrors and blind spot sensors. A blind spot mirror can be easily installed on any existing vehicle, so it's something to consider if your car has a blind spot. These mirrors are concave in their design, providing a wider view of what's going on around your vehicle. You'll notice them commonly on semi-trucks, but they can serve the exact same purpose on your own car. You can purchase and install your own blind spot mirror easily and inexpensively.
Many newer vehicles these days also come with blind spot sensors, which use safety technology to identify objects (such as other vehicles) in your car's blind spot while you're driving. When an object is detected in your blind spot, a light will illuminate on your dashboard, on the side-view mirror itself, or both.
Of course, it's important to remember that blind spot mirrors and senors are still not a replacement for being diligent about checking your surroundings. Always use your mirrors and look around you (using more than just your peripheral vision) any time you're merging or changing lanes. While you're driving, you should also try to make yourself aware of other drivers' potential blind spots so you can avoid them.
Protect Yourself With the Right Insurance
No matter how careful you are to identify and work around vehicle blind spots, accidents can still happen. This is why it's also important to check your auto insurance coverage and make sure you have the protection you need in the event of an accident, regardless of whether it's you or another driver at-fault. From liability and property damage protection to comprehensive and collision coverage, a great auto insurance policy can give you added confidence and peace of mind behind the wheel.