One of the most important components of road safety is being aware of your blind spots so that you can avoid common car accidents. The reality is that all cars have blind spots. If you aren’t sure what a blind spot is or where they are in your car, keep reading!
What is a blind spot?
A blind spot is the name given to the area of the road that a driver can’t see by looking straight ahead through their windshield or into the rear-view and side-view mirrors. In other words, it’s an area that is out of view as a person is driving, requiring the driver to physically turn their head to eliminate the blind spot. Blind spots can be significant in size, often large enough to prevent a driver from seeing another vehicle, motorcycle, pedestrian, or cyclist, which is what makes them so dangerous. In most cases, there are two blind spots on a vehicle and they can be found on the back right side and the back left side. These are two areas that a driver cannot see, even when properly using their mirrors. To give you an example, if you are on the road and another driver decides to pass you, you will first see them behind you in the rear-view mirror. Then, as it merges into another lane and begins driving alongside your vehicle, you will see it in your side mirror. However, as the vehicle continues moving forward, there may be a point where you don’t see the car in either your rear-view or your side-view mirrors. Although this will only be temporary until the car passes you completely and then merges into your lane in front of you, the moment when the vehicle cannot be seen in any of your mirrors or out your front windshield is an example of a blind spot in action. If you weren’t paying attention and hadn’t witnessed the car behind you change lanes, you could make the mistake of changing lanes and colliding with them while they were in your blind spot.
The A-pillar blind spot
Some blind spots may be referred to as A-pillar blind spots. The A-pillar blind spot is an area of the road that is obscured due to the vehicle’s design. It is bigger in some vehicles than others. However, it is the part of the car that runs along each side of the windshield and joins the roof material. You must physically turn your head to be able to see around the A-pillar blind spot, which is extremely important any time you are turning, merging, changing lanes, etc.
Please note that automakers do not intentionally design cars to have blind spots. Rather, they exist due to design decisions that are necessary for the structural integrity of the car.
Blind spots in other vehicles
Keep in mind that even if you do your part to properly address your own car’s blind spot, it’s very possible that you will find yourself in another car’s blind spot, which could lead to a collision. Again, all cars have blind spots and they vary in size between makes and models of cars, but there are specific vehicles that you should take extra precautions with on the road due to the unusually large size of their blind spots. These include trucks, buses, and coaches. Due to their long vehicle bodies, the blind spots on these vehicles are often significantly bigger than other cars. Thus, it’s important to avoid getting too close to these types of vehicles. If you get into an accident due to a blind spot or any other reason, make sure to report the car accident and call your insurance company after a minor car accident or a major one.
Tips to reduce your blind spots when driving
Want to keep yourself safe on the road? One way to do so is by reducing your blind spots when driving. Continue reading for a list of tips and advice that you can adopt to help deal with your blind spots and increase your road safety:
Adjust and readjust your mirrors
To increase your field of vision as much as possible, make sure to adjust your rear-view and side-view mirrors to the correct position and readjust them as needed. You should do this when sitting in the driver’s seat. Play around with it and see which position gives you maximum visibility. Keep your head in the normal position it will be in when you’re driving and move the side-view mirrors and rear-view mirrors so that you can see as much of the road as possible. A tip for the side-view mirrors - when you’re sitting upright in the driver’s seat, you should not be able to see any of your own car’s body in the mirrors. This is wasted space. Instead, adjust them so that more of the road is visible. Take care to readjust as needed as things often get accidentally moved out of place.
Install blind spots mirrors
Another tip if you want to reduce your car’s blind spots is to install blind spot mirrors on your vehicle. Blind spot mirrors are more popular among young or student drivers who are learning the ropes. However, they can be useful for drivers of all skill levels. They are small circular mirrors that are installed on the side-view mirrors to enhance the driver’s field of vision. Not only do they reduce the size of your blind spot, but they can also help with tricky things like reversing. Installing a blind spot mirror on your car is relatively simple, given that they often stick on. Clean and dry your side-view mirror, peel off the back of the blind spot mirror, and press the mirror sticky side down on the bottom left corner of your left side-view mirror and on the bottom right corner of your right side-view mirror. Once they are in position and adequately stuck, you’re ready to drive.
Be careful at intersections, when merging, and on roundabouts
Since blind spots are especially dangerous when turning, merging, or changing lanes, take extra care when doing any of these things. The A-pillar blind spot can be especially dangerous at intersections, so make sure to carefully scan the road in all directions before proceeding.
Glance over your shoulder
Nowadays, many drivers are used to spending most of their time looking forward when driving due to the many safety features in place. However, physically turning and looking over your shoulder is currently one of the best, most effective ways of reducing your blind spot. So get into the habit of giving a cautionary glance behind you when driving. Although you should always do this when reversing, even with a back-up camera, it’s just as important when merging, changing lanes, or before turning. Just make sure that your hands remain on the steering wheel while looking over your shoulder
Honk gently when overtaking another car
Sounding your horn or gently honking when overtaking another car can alert them to your presence and make passing safer. This tip is to help you avoid another car’s blind spot, which is just as important as minimizing your own blind spot. Honking gently to indicate that you are passing someone may be especially useful when travelling at high speeds, such as on highways, and when overtaking a large vehicle, like a semi-truck.
Avoid blocking your rear windshield from the inside
It’s not uncommon for drivers to block their rear windshields due to the items inside their car. For example, if you’re going on a road trip and your car is full of luggage, it might not be long before it’s piled up so high that you can barely see out your back window. This is a major hazard when driving, as it makes your rear-view mirrors far less effective, which significantly limits your field of vision and increases the size of your blind spot. So the next time you do a big grocery shop or go on vacation with your family, make sure to load your car in a way that your rear windshield and rear-view mirrors are not impacted.
Invest in car insurance to protect yourself in the event of a blind spot accident
Although car insurance won’t help you avoid a blind spot car accident, it can give you peace of mind knowing that if a collision occurs, you are financially protected. Given that blind spot accidents can be severe, experts recommend adding collision car insurance to your policy so that your insurer will help you pay to repair the damage.
Contact BrokerLink to learn more about blind spots on cars
As you now know, blind spots on cars can be incredibly dangerous, which is why reducing your blind spots and increasing your field of vision is so important. If you want to know more about how blind spots work, where they are on your car, and how you can keep yourself safe while driving, reach out to BrokerLink today. We are automotive experts and are happy to answer any questions you may have. We can also offer advice on the best auto insurance for your needs. Whether you’re looking to buy multiple auto insurance policies or want to know how accidents affect car insurance rates in Canada, reach out to BrokerLink now. One of our licensed insurance advisors can also provide you with a free auto insurance quote.
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FAQs on blind spots
When should I check my blind spots?
Drivers should check their blind spots any time they are moving left or right. Thus, your blind spots should be checked when you are changing lanes, merging, or turning. They should also be checked when you are reversing, whether you’re backing out of your driveway or out of a parking lot. It is recommended that you check your blind spots more than normal when you are in an area with high pedestrian traffic or lots of cyclists.
Can I fail my driving test because of blind spots?
Yes. It is possible to fail a driving test if you do not adequately check and consider your blind spots. Most examiners will take note of whether you regularly glance in your rear-view and side-view mirrors and turn your head or look over your shoulder when changing lanes and merging. Thus, you should get into the habit of checking your blind spots when driving, especially if you want to pass your driving tests successfully.
What car insurance can protect me if I get into an accident due to my blind spot?
Certain types of auto insurance will protect you more than others, though it depends on the circumstances of the situation. Generally speaking, collision coverage, liability coverage, uninsured automobile insurance, direct compensation - property damage coverage, and accident benefits coverage, among others, can all help if you get into a car accident due to your blind spot.
If you have any questions, contact one of our local branches.