If you are learning how to drive, then you might hear the term “blind spot” from your parent, older sibling, Driver’s Ed teacher, or whoever else is teaching you. You might not fully understand what a blind spot it, or why they can be dangerous.
Comprehending what a blind spot is and why you need to check it sometimes is a critical aspect of driving. However, there is also blind-spot warning technology that exists now, which makes this less of an issue than it was in the past.
Let’s talk about what a blind spot is, why it’s dangerous, and what technological advancements are making them less of a car accident threat.
What Someone Means When They Use the Term Blind Spot
A blind spot is an area directly around a vehicle that you are driving that is not immediately visible to you. You can see most of what’s around you through:
- Direct vision
- Peripheral vision
- Your mirrors
Still, there are always blind spots, and where and how big they are vary depending on the size of the vehicle about which we are talking. For instance, a semi-truck is 70 to 80 feet long, so it makes sense that there is a larger area where they cannot see vehicles or pedestrians.
Why Blind Spots Are Dangerous
Blind spots are dangerous because if there is something in one of your blind spots while you are driving, and you neglect to check there, you might cause an accident if you change the car’s position suddenly.
For example, a classic blind spot with most cars is to the driver’s immediate left, at the vehicle’s midpoint. If you look in your driver’s side mirror, it still probably will not allow you to see if there is a vehicle there.
You might be on the highway and try to change lanes, pulling the car to the left without checking your blind spot. That is an easy way to cause an accident.
If you collide with a vehicle in your blind spot at high speed, you might be the cause of a multiple-car pile-up. The situation worsens in bad weather, like:
- Heavy rain
- A snowstorm
- High winds or hail
The drivers behind you might not have the reflexes to avoid plowing into you and the car you hit.
Blind Side Warning Systems
Still, there’s reason for hope, even if a situation arises where you neglect to check your blind spot. There is now technology called either a blind spot warning system or a blind spot warning monitor.
These are systems in newer cars that detect other vehicles around you, particularly to your side or rear. They warn you about another vehicle’s presence so that you won’t try to change lanes until it’s safe to do so.
These alerts might come in audible form, or they may be visual. You might even get a vibrating seat as a warning not to change lanes right then.
The way that these systems work is through sensors built to detect particular-sized presences in your blind spot. A low flying bird will not set them off, but a vehicle will. They will also sense something as large as a human if you stop in traffic, and someone approaches the car who you may not immediately see.
How to Prevent Accidents from Blind Spots
This new technology has been on the market for a few years, and it works quite well. However, it is only present in modern vehicles, so if you get a used one, it’s probably not going to have it.
It’s unlikely that you can get an older vehicle retrofitted with this sort of system. You’ll have to wait until you can afford a newer car before you can enjoy the safety benefits.
However, as you learn how to drive, you shouldn’t be reliant on these devices. A malfunction is always possible. What you need to learn is where on your vehicle the blind spots are.
When the time comes to switch lanes, always check your blind spots. By doing so, even if you have this tech in your vehicle, you’re making doubly sure that there isn’t a vehicle, person, or object that you missed.
If you stop paying attention to your surroundings for even a moment, that increases the likelihood of a collision. As long as you stay vigilant, then you should be able to avoid an accident, whether you have one of these new systems installed or not.