How To Eliminate The Dreaded "Blind Spot"
A Canadian Direct Insurance Claim:
A Canadian Direct customer was driving southbound in the right lane and was wanting to turn left at the next intersection. There was a vehicle beside her and she waited to let it go past so she could move into the left lane. It went by and she checked back to see if any other vehicle was there. There wasn't and she started to change lanes.
The customer changed lanes and hit a car that appeared to come out of nowhere. There was no drinking & driving involved. Police were called to the scene and she is now suffering minor neck injuries. However, there was lots of damages to both vehicles.
Could This Accident Have Been Avoided?
Most people's reaction to reading the above claim is that the car in the left lane must have been in the Insured's blind spot, therefore it was an unavoidable accident. I believe that car crashes are not merely "accidents" - something unavoidable. I think that this, and most every collision, should not have occurred. Why? In this case, because I don't believe in "blind spots."
In fact, "blind spots" are a thing of the past! On any car or mini-van built in the last ten or twenty years (assuming it has a right side mirror, which everyone should have), the mirrors can be adjusted so there are no blind spots. How?
- The first step is to adjust the rear-view mirror to do exactly that - give you a view directly to the rear. Position it so that it best covers your view straight out the rear window. Don't bother tilting it to one side or the other to assist with your view of traffic to either side of your car. That's what the side mirrors are for.
- Next, lean your head until it almost touches the driver's side window. Then, adjust your left side mirrors so that you can just barely see the side of your car, and no more than that.
- Lean your head to the right towards the middle of the car and adjust the right side mirror so that you can just barely see the right side of your car. You should NOT be able to see the side of your car when your head is perfectly upright. After all, why would you want to? When was the last time your own car ran into itself?
- Check for blind spots by doing the following: While driving along a four-lane road in the right lane, note a vehicle in the left lane coming up to pass you from behind. Without moving your head, glance in the rear-view mirror and follow it as it approaches your car in the left lane. Just before it disappears from your view in the rear-view mirror, glance to the left side mirror. There it is. Now follow that vehicle in the side mirror as it begins to pass you. Then, just before it disappears from the side mirror, you should see it with your peripheral vision. Notice that without even turning your head, you never had a blind-spot. Then try it with the right side mirror. Watch as you pass a vehicle travelling in the right lane go from your peripheral vision, to your right side mirror, to your rear-view mirror. Again, no blind-spot. If there is a blind spot for even a fraction of a second, your side mirror adjustment needs some fine-tuning.
This procedure should be done every time you get into a car in which you have not adjusted the mirrors. It only takes seconds, and can make a big difference.
Far too many drivers do not use their side mirrors enough when changing lanes, instead relying on turning their heads and looking over their shoulder. The problem is as they are not set or adjusted properly - resulting in blind spots - the driver does not trust using the side mirrors. But, once they are adjusted properly, using them and trusting them to give you the information you require will become a habit.
With the mirrors adjusted properly, a shoulder check to change lanes becomes more of a "shoulder peek", meaning you don't have to turn your head so far. That means your peripheral vision will still provide a view in front of you - no "blind spot" in front of you either, meaning less chance of rear-ending a vehicle that has suddenly stopped.
As a side benefit, with the side mirrors tilted out farther, you will no longer have to worry about the bright lights of a vehicle behind you glaring in your eyes.
It may take a little while to feel comfortable with not being able to see the side of your own car in the side mirrors (if you really need to see it every now and then, just tilt your head a little!). Also, it may take a little time to stop relying on the side mirrors for looking to the rear. But once you get used to it, you'll love it. You'll feel much more confident and comfortable in traffic.