“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 to eliminate blind spots in your vehicle.
- Before you go anywhere, take some time to adjust your seat and then adjust your rearview mirror and side view mirrors for optimal visibility of the road around you. Most people have their side view mirrors set incorrectly, limiting their effectiveness and creating a potentially hazardous situation.
- Side view mirrors should be adjusted out 15 degrees so that you can’t see any part of your vehicle in the reflection (more on this below).
- To adjust your driver’s side mirror accurately, 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.
- To adjust the 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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. Just keep in mind that this is no foolproof method, and that sometimes the movement of your car could affect the proper positioning of your mirrors.
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. If you put into practice the above listed techniques, you’ll be that much safer on the road from invisible drivers.
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