You might have found it annoying when your driving instructor kept repeating the words “blind spot” every single time you turned the engine on. Then you realised it’s actually required in your driving test too – for a reason.
A lot of accidents happen when drivers fail to check the blind spot. The mirrors help you to see a wide angle behind and around you but there are areas you can’t observe through them. These blind spots are often why a driver misses a cyclist or a smaller car and ends up having an accident.
What is a blind spot?
The blind spot is literally it – an area around your car that you can’t see, even when using your mirrors. Depending on the size of your car, the windscreen and dashboard, as well as how many passengers you have in the car, the blind spot can be wide or tiny – critical regardless.
To understand the blind spot a little better, look at the diagram below.
How to check my blind spot?
Move your body! Once you’ve checked your mirrors and gotten the first all-clear, do a quick shoulder check to your side as well. Just make sure you’re holding the steering wheel properly so you don’t veer out of your lane.
Always keep your rear windows clear of objects, don’t drive with your car full of junk.
When should I check my blind spot?
1. When you’re changing lanes
It’s obvious that you need to look around before deciding to change lane. Check your mirrors and turn around for the blind spots, THEN show the signal and make a move. Simple!
2. When you’re driving off from a stationary position
This is a common mistake new drivers make. You should always check your surroundings before driving off. It’s common to be asked to park and then move off again during the driving test; this is to check you’re not forgetting your blind spots.
3. When you’re driving near vulnerable road users
Those blind spots are a perfect fit for cyclists or motorcyclists. Take extra care if you’ve just overtaken someone or see cyclists on the road. Don’t turn or change lanes before you’re sure there’s no one in close proximity to your car, from all sides.
Can I get rid of the blind spot?
There are extra mirrors on sale that you can attach to your door mirrors giving you a wider angle from the side, as well as some blind spot monitors that can alert you about anyone nearby.
This all costs extra money and even though helpful should not completely replace looking over your shoulder when driving – better safe than sorry!
Keeping a good distance to the cars around you will help you prevent any surprises. It’s also good to remember that not everyone drives the same way; don’t just blindly trust other road users.
Remember these basics to having good driving visibility. Just a glance over the shoulder could save you from a serious accident!