How to Handle Blind Spots

blindspotsMany accidents occur when driver’s fail to check blind spots while driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) more than 800,000 blind spot collisions happen every year. As a driver, there are a few easy steps you can take to reduce blind spots and make your drive safer.

Mirrors: Remember to check and adjust your mirrors before you put your car in drive. Mirrors allow a driver to see what’s behind and near the sides of the car. It is common for people to adjust their side mirrors pulled in so you can see the side of your vehicle but the National Safety Council (NSC) suggests otherwise. NSC suggests you position your side mirrors further out. This position leaves a minimal view of your vehicle and provides a better view of the cars in lanes next to you. Although mirrors are a significant help, they won’t totally eliminate blind spots.

Check Over Your Shoulder: Do not depend solely on your mirrors. When changing lanes, check your mirrors first and then take a quick look over your shoulder to check the lane you are moving into. This will allow you to see areas your mirrors may have missed. Do not take your eyes off the road for a significant amount of time, a quick glance will suffice. Checking your blind spot is part of the driving test when applying for a driver’s license. Start this good driving habit early and continue it throughout everyday driving.

Consider Other Driver’s Blind Spots: Remember that all the other drivers have blind spots just as you do. Take that into consideration and drive defensively. Always maintain a safe distance between you and other vehicles. Typically, if you cannot see the mirrors of the vehicle in front of you, especially big trucks and tractor trailers, they cannot see you. Do your best to avoid other driver’s blind spots.

Driving Aids: There are products on the market made specifically to reduce your blind spots. Blind spot mirrors are an additional mirror that attach to your factory side view mirrors and provide you with a wide angle, panoramic view. The goal of blind spot mirrors is to give you a view of what your standard mirrors might be missing reducing your blind spot area. Blind Spot Monitoring Systems are another driving aid meant to alert you when another vehicle is in your blind spot. Generally, a signal with light up in your mirror when a car enters your blind spot and if you try to change lanes an alert with sound. This is a great aid but it is exactly that, an aid and should be used in addition to your mirrors, not instead of.

Backing Up: Many newer cars are equipped with back-up cameras but for years and still for many drivers you have to rely on yourself. Over 200 people, mostly small children, are killed each year when they are not visible and inadvertently hit by a car that is backing up (NHTSA). This is a tragic statistic. Before backing up, check your surrounding area for small children and other unforeseen objects.

Blind spots exist in all vehicles and can easily hide another vehicle or person. Know where the blind spots are in each vehicle you drive and make accommodations to ensure safety. Do you have any tips on how you manage blinds spots, please share with us in the comments section.