Driving with a blind spot is something we don’t think about too often until we realize we narrowly missed having an accident when a nearby vehicle swerves around us to avoid contact! Whew! Saved again. We may be shaken up for a minute or two but then we get busy and time passes and we don’t think of it until it happens next time.
With today’s vehicles, many people think they don’t have to worry about blind spots anymore. Not true! Car manufacturers have come a long way to help in this area with added technology, but the human element is still needed … for now.
The best way to avoid this problem is to use all three mirrors! The rear-view mirror attached to your windshield should show a straight, wide view out the back window. Adjust the right and left side mirrors to give you maximum vision. You may have to practice to get it just right! Of course, we expect you to practice in your driveway and not on the highway!
Learn to depend on your mirrors instead of turning and looking fully over your shoulder. A quick glance over your shoulder is all you should need. Turning completely for a longer time sets you up to rear-end a vehicle in front of you who decides to stop when you are not expecting it.
Don’t assume that every vehicle you get in is mirror ready. Adjust accordingly. Here is what I find most helpful when adjusting mirrors while sitting in the driver’s seat.
- The rear-view mirror gives a full, straight out the back view.
- The left-side mirror can be adjusted by leaning your head until it almost touches the driver side window. Move the left mirror until you can just barely view the side of your car.
- The right side mirror can be adjusted by leaning your head to the right and middle of the car. The right side of the car should just be slightly visible. When you sit up straight, you should not be able to see the side of your car at all.
An added bonus is with your side-view mirrors properly adjusted, it tilts them out further so you won’t have a bright light glare at night from other drivers’ headlights.
When you learn to trust the mirrors, I think you find that you are also more conscious of staying out of other drivers’ blind spots. Large trucks usually make a point of using signage to say “If you can’t see me, I can’t see you!” to let you know you are in their blind spot. It’s not a good idea to ignore this.
Technology is advancing by leaps and bounds, so I’m sure before too long we won’t have to worry about blind spots. Can you imagine a vehicle with a full rear-view windshield monitor that lets you see a perfect, uninterrupted view of all that is going around your vehicle? It is in the works using special cameras.
Meanwhile, remember that the bigger the vehicle, the bigger the blind spot, so practice adjusting those mirrors and safe travels!