Blind spots are the areas to the sides of your car that can't be seen in your peripheral vision or the rear-view and side mirrors. A study of 50,000 crashes by Accident Exchange revealed that the majority of the collisions were caused by blind spots.

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Most drivers are taught to position their door mirrors so that the side of the car is visible; however, this narrow view can actually create a blind spot preventing you from seeing a large proportion of the adjacent lane.

In 1995, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) published a paper by George Platzer which suggested how blind spots could be eliminated by pushing the wing mirrors out further and using the rear-view mirror correctly.

How To Adjust The Rear-View Mirror To Minimise Blind Spots

The rear-view mirror is exactly that - it allows you to see whatever is directly behind your car. You should be able to see the whole of the back window; if anything is obstructing your view, you need to move it. When using this mirror, you should only need to move your eyes, not your head.

How To Adjust The Side Mirrors To Minimise Blind Spots

Setting up your side mirrors according to the SAE guidelines can be disorientating for drivers, especially if you're used to seeing the side of your car in the wing mirrors.

Nevertheless, when positioned correctly, the mirrors minimise a car's blind spot to the point where an object, such as a cyclist or pedestrian, won't be completely obscured from view - you'll still be able to see enough of the object to know it's there.

ADJUSTING THE DRIVER'S SIDE MIRROR

First, place your head against the driver's side window. With this perspective, adjust the mirror so that you can just about see the side of the car.

ADJUSTING THE PASSENGER-SIDE MIRROR

First, position yourself in line with the centre console or rear-view mirror. Again, adjust the mirror so that you can just about see the side of the car.

How To Check Blind Spots While Driving

With your mirrors positioned using the above guidelines, you should have a panoramic view of everything that's happening on the road behind you. You can check for blind spots by doing the following:

 

While driving along a three-lane road in the middle lane, take notice of a vehicle in the right lane getting ready to overtake you. Without moving your head, glance in the rear-view mirror and follow it as it approaches your car.

 

Just before it disappears from your view in the rear-view mirror, glance to the right side mirror and you should see it and be able to follow it as it begins to pass you. Before you can no longer see it in the door mirror, you should see it with your peripheral vision.

 

Similarly, observe the process in reverse with the left side mirror. Watch as you pass a vehicle travelling in the left lane move from your peripheral vision into the left side mirror before becoming visible in the rear-view mirror.

 

Even if your mirrors minimise blind spots, it's advisable to look into the lanes beside you while continuing to look forward. Exaggerated head-turns where the driver actually faces backwards to check the blind spot are dangerous - the vehicle in front may come to a sudden stop, causing a rear-end collision.

It's also important to consider the blind spots of other drivers around you and avoid staying in them longer than necessary. Just because you've minimised the blind spots in your car, don't assume everyone is in the same position.

Do Blind Spot Mirrors Work?

Blind spot mirrors are an aftermarket accessory that attach to the car's standard side mirrors. Their curved surface allows the mirror to reflect objects from a wider range of angles compared to conventional wing mirrors.

If the side view mirror is positioned to minimise blind spots, the additional blind spot mirror will allow you to see anything the other mirror misses. Usually, the optimal location for the blind spot mirror is on the upper corner of the edge of the side mirror.

 

NOTE: This doesn't apply to all vehicles and you might need to experiment with the position of the blind spot mirror to get optimal coverage of your specific blind spots.

 

Some drivers find the addition of blind spot mirrors annoying because it reduces the surface area of the standard side mirror; however, others find them helpful, especially on the driver's side.

How Does Blind Spot Monitoring Technology Work?

Car manufacturers are constantly striving to make driving easier and safer. As such, they're actively working on new technologies to eliminate blind spots, including cameras, radar systems and vehicle sensors.

Currently, blind spot monitoring technology is a complex, high-tech system, typically offered as an optional extra on highly-specced models that are already expensive. However, many experts predict that these systems will become standard features on most, if not all, vehicles in the future.

Blind spot monitors constantly monitor the spaces around the car. If they detect an object in the car's blind spot, a message is passed to the driver - usually, this is via a warning light on the side view mirror or dashboard. Some systems also give the driver an audible warning.

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