Blind spots, in the context of driving an automobile, are the areas of the road that cannot be seen while looking forward or through either the rear-view or side mirrors. Blind spots can be eliminated by overlapping side and rear-view mirrors, or checked by turning one’s head briefly, or by adding another mirror with a larger field of view. Detection of vehicles or other objects in blind spots may also be aided by systems such as video cameras or distance sensors, though these are not common in automobiles sold to the general public.
Blind spots areas
The areas most commonly referred to as blind spots are the rear quarter blind spots, areas towards the rear of the vehicle on both sides. Vehicles in the adjacent lanes of the road may fall into these blind spots, and a driver may be unable to see them using only the car’s mirrors.
Other areas that are sometimes called blind spots are those that are too low to see behind and in front of a vehicle. Also, in cases where side vision is hindered, areas to the left or right can become blind spots as well.
How to avoid them?
Adjust your side mirrors and rearview mirror to provide you with one near seamless panoramic scene of the view behind you, but don’t rely solely on them. Actually turn to look directly into the lanes beside you to avoid missing something left undetected by your mirrors. Also consider the blind spots for other drivers around you, especially truckers, and try to minimize the amount of time you spend in them.
Mirror alignment is often done incorrectly by drivers. There is a tendency to want to provide context for the side mirror view by having the rear of the driver’s own vehicle in the mirror frame. When properly aligned the side view mirrors widen the perspective offered by rear view mirror, not overlapping it at all.
Even with a head-turn, the driver should continue to look forward, in the direction the car is travelling. This is accomplished by using peripheral vision and only turning the head approximately 45 degrees. Exaggerated head-turns, where the driver actually faces backward for a moment to check the blind spot, are dangerous because the vehicle in front may come to a sudden stop just at that instant resulting in a rear-end collision.
Failure to check one’s blind spots, especially before changing lanes, can result in an accident. Even though the rear-quarter blind spot can be eliminated, and should be checked by all drivers, many drivers do not do so, so it is wise to avoid driving inside another vehicle’s blind spot.
To avoid an accident try this: 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.
You should do this procedure 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.
There are too many drivers that 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.
Blind spots for convertible cars
In a convertible car you need to know this: when the top is up, you need to be primarily dependant on the center rear view mirror for most of what’s behind you. You have to make sure that your position is giving you the most panoramic view out the back window possible. The side mirrors should be tilted outwardly quite a bit more than you might think. When the top is up, the side mirrors are your only hope of seeing cars in either blind spot, and so the mirrors need to be adjusted differently than you might be used to setting up side mirrors.
Because you need to extend them out so wide to see the blind spots, they become much less helpful in seeing what’s further behind in the immediately adjacent lanes. You actually won’t even see the cars in the immediate lanes to your left and right in the side view mirrors until they’re nearly in your blind spot already. Because of this, you’ll be more dependant on your center rear view for most driving activities. The big advantage of this setup is that you’ll be able to make MUCH safer lane changes.
With the side mirrors widened out, you’ll be much less likely to cut off another car that’s in your blind spot as you’ll be able to see them now. To adjust the side mirrors correctly, you want to move them out until you can see a car in the adjacent lane in the mirror right up until you can see it passing you out your side window. By doing this, you’ll have less overall visibility from the side mirrors, but you’ll be able to make your blind spot almost non-existent.