Part of driver’s education is recognizing blind spots. It is one of the basic concepts taught to every teenager or adult who is preparing to obtain a driver’s license. A blind spot is simply an area of the road that cannot be seen by the driver while looking straight ahead or looking in the rearview mirror.
You are driving down the road. You spot a car in your rearview coming up behind you. It is obvious due to its motion and speed that it is going to pass you. You watch the car, and then it disappears in the rearview mirror. The car then reappears as it passes you on the left. The passing car was in your blind spot when you could not see it.
The problem with the above situation is when you decide to change lanes. You check your rearview mirror and do not see any cars. You need to check your blind spot. The classic method is to look over your shoulder and see if there is a vehicle running right beside you. If it is clear then you can move. You have to also make sure that there is not a car coming up quickly because there will be a brief time between looking back and changing lanes. Remember to always use your turn signal. This puts other drivers on notice including those approaching your blind spot.
The other method used to check blind spots is side-view mirrors. Many drivers do not use them enough. IF your vehicle has a side-view mirror with just one pane of glass, then you need to adjust both mirrors before driving. The point is to minimize the blind spot to the greatest extent possible.
Adjust the side view mirrors so that you can barely see the side of your car. You do this by leaning your head as close to the driver’s window as possible. For the passenger side mirror, you move your head to the center of the car. In both cases move the mirror so your car almost disappears. This will minimize your blind spot.
You will still have to make that over the shoulder look. This applies even if you have a second pane of glass in the mirror which is a small side-view mirror that shows you your blind spot. Use it but do not rely on it totally. Always take that quick look over your shoulder.
Another problem with blind spots is when you are passing another vehicle, especially a large truck or bus. You never want to ride in its blind spot. Always try to pass on the left where the blind spot is not as large. In any event, once you decide to pass, do it quickly. Your time in the blind spot needs to be as short as possible.
The process of checking on blind spots is an ongoing problem. You can never take anything for granted. Accidents involving blind spots are numerous. It takes continual vigilance to stay safe.