What are blind spots?

A blind spot is an area you can’t see while looking forward or in your mirrors and that is hidden by parts of the vehicles structure. Missing these areas can lead to collisions where it feels like the other vehicle has emerged from virtually nowhere.

A safe driver should be able to understand the concept of a blind spot and know how to avoid them, even if they are learning to drive. When you’re moving off fast, it may be difficult to know at all times you are clear and safe, and some areas around your vehicle will need extra attention. Some quick driving tips can ensure a safer journey and may even save your life.

What causes blind spots?

They exist in vehicles whose structure doesn’t allow the driver to observe certain areas while at controls – vehicles, trucks, aircraft, boats, etc. Driver visibility can be affected by pillars, windshields, and dashboards. There are some types of transport that don’t have blind spots at all, such as bicycles and motorcycles.

Here’s an example

You have just passed a junction and you want to merge to the right lane. A vehicle is emerging from the junction at your right side, and you can’t see it unless you check back over your shoulder.

Solutions for reducing blind spots

There are various ways to minimise blind spots while driving a vehicle;

  • Turning your head briefly to check the area behind your vehicle
  • Using larger mirrors
  • Reducing overlap between mirrors – your side mirrors should be adjusted in such a way that the side of the vehicle is barely visible when you head is between the front seats (for the right side mirror), and almost touching the driver’s window (for the left side mirror). However, checking blind spots physically is the safest method

When should you check for blind spots?

Here are the most common situations that require you to consider blind spots:

  • Before you pull out from the kerb
  • Before you park or leave a park
  • Before and during a three-point turn or U-Turn
  • Before merging with other traffic
  • Before Changing lanes (including when you pass or overtake another vehicle).
  • Before you turn, but only if there’s a chance that another vehicle could come up alongside you
  • When backing out of a driveway. Remember to check the driveway for obstructions and make sure no children or pets can get behind the vehicle before you get into the vehicle.

Can blind spots be used as an excuse any longer?

Some experts argue that blind spots are a thing of the past and that any vehicle that has been built recently should allow drivers to adjust mirrors in such a way as to avoid this phenomenon. Also, being informed about blind spots and knowing how to prevent them is a vital driving skill. Don’t overlook this important factor when practicing or attempting your driving test.