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What is the blind spot and how can it be reduced?

>Blind spots are one of the factors we must take into account when it comes to road safety. Being appropriately prepared can significantly reduce the risk of a collision.  In this article, we will delve into the issue of blind spots and discuss effective ways to reduce them.

What is a blind spot?

The blind spot is the area around a vehicle that is not visible to the driver, neither through the vehicle’s front and side windows nor using the standard mirror setting. Although mirrors significantly improve a driver’s range of vision, unfortunately there are places that are beyond their range. These are mainly the areas directly behind the vehicle and on its sides, which means that the driver may not notice another road user or pedestrian.

The blind spot is particularly dangerous when reversing, changing lanes and turning, as an unnoticed vehicle outside the visibility range may cause a collision. The extent of the blind spot depends, among other things, on:

  • vehicle structure
  • mirror settings
  • driver’s position
  • type of side mirrors

In larger vehicles, such as semi-trailer trucks or buses, blind spots are much larger, increasing the risk of dangerous situations on the road.

How to minimize the blind spot

Limiting the blind spot area starts with properly adjusting your mirrors. Although it sounds very simple, drivers with many years of experience behind the wheel very often forget the basic rules for adjusting mirrors. Here are some steps that will help you adjust your mirrors correctly and thus reduce your blind spots.

Adjusting mirrors in the car

  • Rearview mirror: adjust it to show as much of the area visible through the rear window as possible, without the driver having to move their head. In an ideal configuration, you should be able to see the entire rear window.
  • Side mirrors: adjust them so that the vehicle you are driving is barely visible. This may make parking slightly more difficult, but will provide the greatest range of vision. In an ideal configuration, you should be able to see the side of your vehicle and the adjacent lane.

Blind spot mirror

An effective and simple way to reduce the blind zone is to install special blind spot mirrors. They are usually installed on the side mirrors. They can take the form of a sticker attached to the mirror glass, or expand the mirror with another glass – without interfering with its original range. The ideal place to install such a mirror is the lower, outer part of the side mirror.

Technological allies in the fight against blind spots

Car manufacturers are putting more and more emphasis on implementing technologies, mainly to prevent accidents. Modern cars are full of these type of solutions – from pedestrian detection, through lane assistant, to automatic braking in emergency situations. Some innovations have been created to reduce or completely eliminate blind spots!

Blind spot assist feature

Blind Spot Assist is a system of sensors mounted on the sides and rear of the vehicle. Its main task is to monitor areas that are difficult to see for the driver. When the system detects an object in the blind spot, it informs the driver using light or sound signals. In some vehicles this may be through information displayed on the HUD.

What is the blind spot sensor?

The most popular version of the blind spot sensor is mounted in the side mirrors. When the sensor detects an object in the blind spot, it turns on a special light mounted in the mirror. In urban conditions, this makes overtaking much easier.

Side and reversing cameras

This solution requires no special explanation. Cameras are placed in strategic locations outside the vehicle to provide a view on the display inside the vehicle of areas that are beyond the driver’s field of view.

Aspherical mirrors

These are special type of mirrors where the glass consists of two parts. One of them is flat and the other is curved at an angle to increase the field of view from inside the vehicle. It is a simple but effective solution that can be used in any type of vehicle.

The requirement to warn about blind spots

Some European countries have introduced their own blind spot warning regulations. France is such a prime example, where the law now requires larger vehicles to be additionally marked. This is particularly important for transport companies carrying out international transport.

Blind spot stickers in France – where do they go?

In France, from the beginning of 2021, all trucks and buses with a permissible total weight exceeding 3.5 tons must have special “angles morts” (blind spot) stickers. These stickers serve a preventive function and inform other road users about the increased blind spot area in larger vehicles.

The stickers must be placed in visible spots:

  • on both sides of the vehicle, within the first meter of the front part of the cabin
  • on the rear of the semi-trailer or trailer
  • at a height of 0.9 to 1.5 meters above the ground, so that they are clearly visible to other drivers and pedestrians.

Summary: blind spot = weak spot

The blind spot is an area that every driver should take into account, both in terms of driving and analysing the behaviour of other road users. It is worth considering the technologies discussed in the above article, especially in the case of larger vehicles – campers, trucks or box trucks. Remember that we are all responsible for road safety.