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What are blind spots?

A blind spot is an area you can’t see in your mirrors or areas hidden by parts of your vehicles structure. Missing these areas can lead to collisions.

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?

Blindspots are generally caused by the vehicles structure as it doesn’t allow the driver clear vision to observe certain areas. Majority of the time, the vehicles pillars are the main areas that cause blindspots. However, this may also depend on the type of vehicle being driven. The pillars are upright supports at the front sides and rear, that carry the weight of the roof and support the body structure (see example below).

Vehicle Pillars - Learn Drive Survive

Solutions for reducing blind spots

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

  • Turning your head briefly (chin to shoulder) to check the area behind your vehicle
  • Using larger mirrors
  • Using blindspot mirrors
  • Checking mirrors frequently (every 8 to 10 seconds)

When should you check for blind spots?

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

  • Before you pull out from the kerb
  • Before you park or leave a park
  • Before and as you reverse
  • 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 may argue that blind spots are a thing of the past and that any modern built vehicle 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.