Are you familiar with blind spots? If you are a driver, it is important to learn about the blind spots of your vehicle. By definition, blind spots are areas of your car which you, as the driver, cannot directly observe while you are in control of the vehicle, whether looking forward, through the rear-view, or through side mirrors. In short, these are the views that obstruct your driving. The blind spots are usually caused by headrests, passengers, and window pillars. Any kind of vehicle will always have four main blind spots. The location of these blind spots can vary from 30 feet ahead to 20 feet behind, as well as the front, and rear, two lanes on the passenger side and one on the driver’s side. Smaller vehicles tend to have their blind spots at the sides, with a better field of view available at the front. All the invisible areas are called the automotive blind spot.
But for larger trucks and other commercial vehicles, there’s always this one major issue: large blind spots where it’s hard for the driver to see. These blind spots are one of the causes of thousands of crashes and collisions on the road every year.
Blind Spots Dangers
Around the world, blind spots on large vehicles are the cause of thousands of crashes every year. Here in the Philippines, we hear stories of truck-related accidents almost every day in news programs since our roads here are usually where various hazards have a habit of popping up at the most inconvenient times.
One of the most dangerous situations of having large blind spots involves turning right. A truck driver cannot see a cyclist or pedestrian moving straight forward when they start to turn right. A study from the UN Economic Commission for Europe found that in one year alone, this situation resulted in 23 fatalities, 118 serious injuries, and 640 overall injuries for cyclists in Germany. Getting hit by trucks turning right accounted for 6 percent of all cyclist deaths.
Other factors that can affect your driving due to blind spots are your passengers or cargo. At any given instance, they can also be an obstruction to your view. If you have a full load of adult passengers, for example, it might be more difficult for you to check your rearview due to the number of heads blocking your way.
The weather can also influence your perspective literally. Conditions such as rain or fog can effectively reduce your ability to see forward at a considerable distance, which is essential to road safety. Even smoke that drifts into your sightline can have the same effect. Anything that cannot be seen beyond 100 meters or 330 feet is considered zero visibility.
Dealing with blind spots
Thankfully in this modern age, vehicles are equipped with blind spot protection systems where they usually help each other so each can achieve their functionality. The primary goals of these smart cars are not to make every trip more comfortable, but also to have a safer road for all.
But as drivers, we shouldn’t always rely on technology. These wouldn’t be useful without a driver’s diligence and alertness when on the road. Keep in mind that developing the habit of constantly checking your blind spots and seeing if anything needs to be adjusted is a good solution to address the problems of blind spots. Aside from this, be sure to be visible around other vehicles and avoid their blind spots. This road attitude can minimize the risks of road accidents. If you feel you want to eliminate your own blind spots, you can adjust your rear-view mirror. Angle it towards the rear window, slightly favoring the rear passenger side. You can also adjust your side mirrors at an angle that doesn’t obstruct your view on the road.
Having this proactive mindset on the road is a big step forward in making sure of everyone’s safety on a regular basis.