“I can’t believe you’d loan me your car without telling me it had a blind spot. I could’ve been killed!” – Biff Tannen, Back to the Future
Perhaps the fact that all cars have blind spots is news to some, but it shouldn’t be to you. We all have blind spots due to an area on your retina that has no receptors, according to About.com. Give your blind spot a quick test (it only takes about five seconds) here.
Acknowledging that a blind spot exists doesn’t eliminate your risk of accidentally colliding with another car when changing lanes or reversing. To save yourself – and your insurance company – some major hassle, follow these steps.
How to Check Your Blind Spot
Before You Drive
Adjust Your Seat
Before you drive anywhere, take some time to adjust your seat. First of all, you’ll want to have clear visibility of the road in front of you.
Adjust Your Side View Mirrors
Side view mirrors should be adjusted out 15 degrees so that you can’t see any part of your vehicle in the reflection. Most people have their side view mirrors set incorrectly, limiting their effectiveness and creating a potentially hazardous situation.
Driver’s Side Mirror
Lean your head to the left so that it’s in line with the edge of your window. Keeping your head in this position, adjust the driver’s side mirror outward until the side of your car is no longer visible
Passenger’s Side Mirror
Position your head at the center point of your car. This is usually indicated by the overhead dome light or the middle point of your rearview mirror. From this vantage point, adjust your passenger side view mirror out so that you can no longer see the side of your car.
While You’re Driving
Turn Your Head
Every single time you turn, change lanes or reverse, turn your head in the direction you’re aiming, to spot-check for any potential hazards or obstacles. You don’t need to turn your head all the way around – that would be dangerous – just turn as far as your shoulder, which will help determine whether you’re merging into an open lane or a Honda Odyssey.
Be Aware of Other’s Blind Spots
In addition to being mindful of your own blind spot, know when you’re falling within others’ blind spots. When in a lane next to another car traveling at speed, either pass or let the other car pass you. If you’re traveling within another car’s blind spot, it’s an invitation for the other driver to inadvertently switch into your lane. Be decisive and either pass or let the other car move along.
Don’t Depend on Any One Method
Once these steps have been taken, you’ll be in a far better position to see all of the activity on the road behind you and to the side of your car. Even in today’s high-tech world of blind spot detection systems and aftermarket convex mirrors, there’s still no substitute for a good old-fashioned shoulder check and properly aligned side view mirrors.
Just keep in mind that there is no foolproof method. Sometimes the movement of your car could affect the proper positioning of your mirrors. Or, turning your head could prove to be more dangerous than looking straight ahead.
As long as you’re smart about how you put the above steps into practice, you’ll be that much safer on the road.
Ready to get out on the road, now that you’re blind-spot aware? Don’t take to the roads unless you’ve got a well maintained vehicle. Compare, book and pay for local auto repair and maintenance using Openbay.
“In an era when smartphones can be used to order takeout food, book flights, and hire cabs, it is surprising there had not been anything that easily combines everything about the car repair process into one app.” – Boston Globe