Modes of Transportation – In an Automobile
Blind Spots in a Car
Rear-view mirrors cannot cover all areas around a vehicle, which means that blind spots exist that prevent drivers from seeing other road users. The taller and longer the vehicle, the bigger the blind spots.
What is a blind spot?
A blind spot is an area of the road outside the driver's field of vision that cannot be seen in the rear-view mirrors or through the windows.
Every vehicle has blind spots
In general, the taller and longer the vehicle, the bigger the blind spots.
All types of vehicles feature pillars that create blind spots, not only SUVs or heavy vehicles. A smaller vehicle with narrower pillars, but with a shorter distance between the driver and the steering wheel, may also create blind spots that can hide other road users. For that reason, it is important to familiarize yourself with the blind spots created by the pillars of the vehicle you are driving, especially if it is a new vehicle.
Where are blind spots located?
Blind spots are all around vehicles, but their size and location vary according to the type of vehicle. The main blind spots are located in front, at the rear, on the sides and behind the windshield pillars of the vehicle.
Blind Spots Created by the Pillars on Either Side of the Windshield
The pillars on either side of the windshield hold the windshield to the vehicle.
The shape and the width of the pillars, as well as the distance between the driver and the steering wheel, have a significant impact on the size and position of the blind spots that are created.
The pillars can create blind spots for both left and right turns, and vulnerable road users (pedestrians, cyclists, moped or scooter drivers, motorcyclists) may be invisible during much of the turn.
Check your blind spots
- changing lanes
- merging with traffic (in particular when entering a fast lane)
- turning at an intersection
- backing up
- leaving a parking space
- opening your door
How to make sure no one is in any of your blind spots
- Before leaving, check your rear-view and side mirrors and adjust them if need be to reduce the size of your blind spots.
- Before changing lanes, quickly turn your head in the direction you want to go in order make sure the lane is free.
- Before turning left or right, or before continuing after having stopped your vehicle at a stop sign or traffic light, move your upper body forward and look behind the windshield pillars. If you are turning, turn your head in the direction you want to go before you proceed.
- Make sure your rear-view and side mirrors are clear, in good condition and properly adjusted.
- Be mindful of people around your vehicle, especially at urban intersections.
- Watch and anticipate the movements of other road users.
- Do not assume that others can predict your manoeuvres.
- Use your turn signal lights to indicate your intention to turn, change lanes or park.
- Be careful when turning at an intersection.
- Choose parking spaces that you can back into, in order to ensure good visibility when you leave the parking space.
Around heavy vehicles
Be especially careful when driving near heavy vehicles. Their blind spots are much bigger than those of a car.
For your safety
- Avoid placing yourself in a heavy vehicle's blind spots.
- Don't cut off a heavy vehicle. Not only will the heavy vehicle not have enough space to brake in time, but you also risk finding yourself in one of its blind spots.
- Never pass a heavy vehicle on the right at an intersection: the heavy vehicle may first veer into the left lane to have more space to turn right.
- Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the heavy vehicle in front of you: if you follow too closely, the driver won't be able to see you.
- Pay attention to the turn signal lights of heavy vehicles at intersections.
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Last update: February 14, 2021