Blind Spots

Nobody gets into their vehicle hoping to be involved in a car crash. Drivers across the U.S. do their best to be cautious while traversing roads and highways every day. Unfortunately, blind spots are a nuisance that can cause problems for even the most attentive motorists.

Most vehicles have at least one blind spot; the only exceptions are motorcycles, bicycles and horses – even aircraft have blind spots. In order to prevent a blind spot accident, drivers have to pay attention and exercise caution.

A ‘blind spot’ is a phrase used to describe an area of an automobile that can’t be seen directly by the driver when they are properly seated. In most cases, the obstructed view results from the vertical supports that frame a vehicle’s windows, but can also occur because of improperly positioned mirrors and excess cargo that blocks the view through the car’s windows.

Over 330,000 auto accidents occur annually in Georgia, causing more than 130,000 injuries and over 1,600 deaths, according to the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. Nearly 30% of these accidents occur in Chatham County. One of the most common causes of a blind-spot involved accident is a driver changing lanes without proper surveillance of the conditions surrounding the automobile.

Types of Accidents Involving Blind Spots

Driver negligence is one of the leading causes of many accidents, and blind spot collisions are no exception. When a driver fails to check for another vehicle or a pedestrian, he is putting himself - and others on the road - at risk for an accident. There is a variety of accident types that can occur due when someone does not adequately investigate surroundings. Multi-lane roads, intersections and roundabouts add to a driver’s risk, causing reduced visibility and improving the likelihood of a blind spot accident. Motorists should take extra precaution when approaching these driving situations.

Some accidents that may result from unchecked blind spots include:

  • Rollover
  • Sideswipe
  • Rear-to-Side
  • Rear-to-Front
  • Passenger Vehicle & Truck
  • Passenger Vehicle & Motorcycle or Bicycle

The severity of injuries and nature of accidents is unpredictable when it comes to blind spots, considering the various ways an unchecked blind spot can contribute to an accident. Truck collisions can be extremely severe due to the sheer size and weight of 18-wheelers and other commercial vehicles; motorists should take extra care when navigating around large trucks, as they have multiple blind spots. Some of these include the area behind the truck’s trailer, directly in front of the engine or along the sides of the vehicles. A general rule of thumb for driving near trucks is “if you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you”, a message often seen on truck bumpers.

Injuries from a Blind Spot Accident

Severe injuries can result from blind spot neglect, especially when traveling at high speeds or when a vehicle is overturned. A moment is all it takes to misjudge your surroundings and cause an accident.

Some examples of possible trauma that can result include:

  • Whiplash
  • Wrist Injury
  • Spinal Cord Trauma
  • Seat Belt Abrasions
  • Ejection of Occupant
  • Internal Injury
  • Concussion/Loss of Consciousness
  • Broken Glass Wounds
  • Back and Neck Trauma

While a collision is sometimes unavoidable, there are techniques you can employ to reduce your chances of being involved in an accident. Defensive driving is recommended whenever you get behind the wheel, and it is a good habit to check your mirrors every time you enter your vehicle.

Eliminating Blind Spots and Preventing Collisions

It may seem trivial, but many forget one of the basics of safe driving: thoroughly check all of your blind spots before proceeding in a limited-visibility situation. You can take steps to eliminate your blind spots, and remember to exercise caution whenever you are in doubt. Keep yourself and your passengers safe with the following guidelines:

  • Properly adjust your mirrors
    • The rear-view mirror attached to the windshield should frame your rear window
    • When the car is idle, sit in the proper position and lean toward the driver’s side window; in your left mirror, eliminate as much of your vehicle’s reflection as possible
    • When the car is idle, sit in the proper position and lean toward the center of the automobile; eliminate as much of your vehicle’s reflection as possible
  • Add blind spot mirrors (the small, circular mirrors that can be adhered to side mirrors) or replace your side mirrors with convex models, which provide improved visibility
  • Slow down when changing lanes, merging and yielding, and allow enough time for you to properly inspect your blind spots
  • Look over your shoulders to manually inspect blind spots before maneuvering

You can remarkably reduce the area in your blind spots by using these safety techniques. While blind spots cannot be completely eliminated (unless you are driving a convertible), advancements in technology are now allowing a car to sense vehicles and other obstructions in its surroundings.