If you’ve ever heard somebody refer to their “blind spot” while driving, you’ve probably asked yourself what the term means. Well, in this article, we will answer the question ‘what does the term blind spot mean for a driver?’
A blind spot is an area around the vehicle that the driver cannot observe with the instrumentation available to them without turning their heads.
For instance, there might be another vehicle on the inside lane of the motorway right next to you while you’re driving. But, because of the position of the car, you may not be able to see it in any of your mirrors.
Blind spots affect not just cars, but practically all vehicles, including boats, aircraft and trucks. A blindspot occurs where there is no way to observe the surroundings of the vehicle without physically moving from the traditional driving position.
The good news, however, is that it is easy to check your blind spot while driving: turn your head and look directly at the area that isn’t shown by the mirrors.
Driving instructors understand the importance of teaching new drivers about blind spots. Inexperienced drivers may be tempted to drive using their mirrors alone. However, mirrors don’t always provide all the visual information you need to make the right choice on the road.
Often, the only way to rule out the presence of a vehicle in your blind spot is to turn and look.
For some vehicles, there’s no way to avoid blind spots: they’re built into the design. For instance, a coach driver will never be able to see the car driving behind it on the motorway, two feet from its rear bumper because of the shape of the rear of the vehicle.
However, there is a way to adjust the mirrors on regular cars to virtually eliminate the blind spot, helping you to avoid having to turn your head over your shoulder every time you want to switch lanes on the motorway.
In 1995, George Platzer of the Society of Automotive Engineers published a paper in which he claimed that the average driver could eliminate blind spots on their vehicles without any expensive equipment or having to buy new mirrors.
His technique rested on the fact that there’s an overlap between the reflection shown in the side mirrors and that of the rear-view mirror. Platzer realised that you could eliminate the blind spot by turning the wing mirrors outward so that they would show more reflections to the side of the vehicle and would no longer overlap with the rear-view mirror.
The change in mirror setup takes a little getting used to. People often use their side mirrors for any action involving lateral movement, while they use the rear-view to see what’s going on directly behind them.
This new setup removes blind spots, but it relies on the driver having the presence of mind to check their rear-view mirror for what’s going on both behind and to the side of them. But, once you get used to it, it can help reduce accidents.
For more information on the correct mirror setup to help reduce blind spots, get in touch with Totally Driving by calling 07513 193969.