When a driving car you need to be aware of your surroundings. You need to know where the other cars are relative to where you are and if there are any vehicles or pedestrians that will cross your path. In an ideal world, you would have a perfect 360-degree view of your surroundings to help you drive safely, but sadly that isn’t the case as even modern cars come with blind spots that can hinder your view of other vehicles or objects while driving. Today we will quickly discuss what these blind spots are, where they are typically found, and how you can drive safely with them.
What is a blind spot?
As the name implies it is where the driver cannot see in their normal driving position. While all vehicles have side mirrors and a rearview mirror, they only let you see a portion of what is beside and behind your car. There are still places that drivers cannot view with the help of mirrors. All the invisible areas are called the automotive blind spot.
Is there a cause for blind spots?
Blind Spots happen because of the construction of the vehicle itself. At its most basic interpretation, a car is composed of a roof, floor, and pillars. These pillars block the drivers' view and cause blind spots. Cool-looking designs do come at a cost and sometimes the price is paid with visibility. There are remedies to this such as a blind spot monitoring system, but these systems aren’t always standard in all vehicles.
How many blind spots are there in a car?
Whether it be a crossover, SUV, sedan, hatchback, or even a truck, a vehicle will always have four main blind spots. Depending on the design of the vehicle these are typically found at the front, the rear, and the sides. Smaller vehicles tend to have their blind spots at the sides, with a better field of view available at the front.
For bigger vehicles such as trucks, their blind spots are more pronounced simply because of their design which is more oriented towards cargo hauling than visibility. For a truck, its blind spots are typically found directly in front of them within a 20ft area, to the left of them by about 2 lanes, to the right of them by a lane, and directly behind them within an area of 30ft. This is because the mirrors have a limited field of view and the design of the cab of the truck raises the seating position of the vehicle thus making them unable to see what is directly in front of them. Just remember that the blind spots differ slightly between smaller trucks and bigger trucks but the areas remain generally the same.
What blind spot should I be wary of the most?
For trucks, if you are driving next to the one you should be wary of its right side as the driver will have a limited view if you are passing him on the right. He may not know you are there so it's always a good idea to give these much larger vehicles on the left side where the driver will have a bigger chance of seeing you. For smaller vehicles, it's a similar scenario as drivers won’t be able to immediately see you if you pass them on the right. That being said it's always safer to give a vehicle on the left side that way the driver can see you coming immediately.
How do you check a car’s blind spot?
Despite all vehicles having these blind spots, with no real way to get rid of them, there are a few ways to get you better vision around your car. What you can do in order to avoid accidents involving these blind spots is to check your mirrors and make sure nothing is obstructing them, especially your rearview mirror. Make sure to check your rear-view and side mirrors every few seconds and most importantly when merging into another lane as they will tell you roughly where you are and where the other traffic in your area is. Also before you change lanes you can also do a quick shoulder check and turn on your signals so that other drivers will know where you are going and you can physically check that there are no cars in your blind spots.
Conversely, if your vehicle is equipped with a blind spot monitoring system you can generally rely on that for them when merging. Depending on the type of system a small orange icon will appear on your side mirror. If it's steady this means that there is a car in your blind spot and it isn’t safe to merge if it starts to blink this means that a vehicle is entering your blind spot, and if it disappears this means that it is safe to merge.