Have you ever experienced that heart-stopping moment when you start to change lanes, only to realize there’s another car right beside you that you didn’t see? That’s what’s known as a blind spot, and it’s a common cause of road accidents. So, should you turn your head to check a blind spot?
What exactly is a blind spot in the context of driving? And, why should you care about blind spots?
In this informative blog post, we will cover all the important aspects of blind spots and how to deal with them while driving.
What is a Blind Spot in the Automotive World?
A blind spot in the automotive world is an area around your vehicle that isn’t covered by your mirrors or peripheral vision.
That means even if you’re diligent about checking your mirrors, spaces can be obscured, hiding other vehicles, cyclists, or pedestrians.
Why Should You Bother About Blind Spots?
Checking blind spots is crucial for road safety. This is because your life and the lives of others may depend on it.
Understanding where your blind spots are and how to check them properly can prevent collisions and ensure smooth lane changes and overtakes.
Should You Turn Your Head to Check a Blind Spot?
Yes, to check your blind spot, you should turn your head to look over your shoulder before changing lanes or making a maneuver.
Checking a blind spot is an important aspect of safe driving. While your mirrors provide valuable information, they may not cover all areas, and there are certain blind spots that you can only check by physically turning your head.
This is especially crucial when you are merging onto a highway, changing lanes, or making a turn.
Relying solely on mirrors may lead to a situation where you miss a vehicle or obstacle in your blind spot, potentially causing a collision.
In summary, turning your head to check your blind spot is an essential practice as it complements the use of your mirrors in ensuring that you have a comprehensive view of your surroundings.
The Correct Way to Adjust Your Mirrors to Minimize Blind Spots
Adjusting your mirrors correctly is a critical step in minimizing blind spots, and doing so isn’t complex. I’m going to guide you through it, step by step.
First, let’s tackle the rearview mirror. Your goal here is broad visibility. Adjust this mirror so you can see out of the center of your rear window without having to move your head. That means you’re likely going to have a full view of the road behind you.
Now, your side mirrors. Here’s a tip that might surprise you: Don’t position them to reflect the side of your car. Instead, angle them outward until your car is just out of view. This widens your peripheral vision on either side and helps cover areas that your rearview mirror can’t catch.
For those wondering about the correct sitting position, you want to make sure you’re seated comfortably with your back against the seat, able to reach all controls and have an unobstructed view of all mirrors.
I’ve come across a few myths over time about mirror adjustments. Some people say you should be able to see the horizon in the center of the rearview mirror—this isn’t necessarily true for everyone. Your height and the car’s design affect this, so choose something that resonates with you, within the safety norms.
Remember, even with optimal mirror adjustment, blind spots can never be completely eliminated. That’s why, after adjusting your mirrors, you need to learn how to physically check your blind spots.
And don’t worry too much about getting it perfect on the first try. You can always adjust your approach down the road.
How to Check Your Blind Spot While Driving
Checking your blind spot is a critical driving skill that’s all about timing and technique. I’m going to walk you through the process so that you can do it almost instinctively.
You’re going to find out about the moments when a blind spot check is crucial, such as merging onto a highway, changing lanes, or entering traffic circles.
It isn’t just about rotating your head; it’s about doing it at the right moment to ensure maximum safety on the road.
Here’s how to execute a proper blind spot check:
- Begin by quickly glancing in your rearview mirror to assess the traffic behind you.
- Next, take a brief moment to look in your side mirror.
- Finally, turn your head over the appropriate shoulder to view the area the mirrors can’t cover. This process should be quick, efficient, and over in a matter of seconds.
Now, this skill needs to be integrated into your driving habits. Constant vigilance and practice are key. Start by consciously incorporating blind spot checks into every relevant maneuver until it becomes second nature.
Remember, your first attempt doesn’t need to be your last. You can always fine-tune your technique.
Don’t worry too much about getting it perfect immediately; it’s more important to start the practice and improve over time.
Here’s a video showing the basics of checking the blind spots:
Is There a Way to Check Blind Spots Without Turning Your Head?
Yes. Now that you’ve got the hang of checking your blind spots through tried-and-true techniques, it’s also worth exploring how technology can aid in this essential task.
Advanced Tips and Tools to Help Monitor Blind Spots Without Turning Your Head
Consider installing convex or blind spot mirrors on your side mirrors. These mirrors have a wider field of view and can help you see into your blind spots. They are particularly useful for detecting vehicles approaching from behind and alongside your vehicle.
Many modern vehicles also come equipped with blind spot monitoring systems – intuitive features that alert you when a vehicle enters your blind spot zone.
These systems use sensors to detect vehicles in your blind spots and typically provide visual or audible alerts to warn you of their presence.
While these systems can be incredibly helpful, I want to emphasize that they do NOT replace the need for manual checks. They’re complementary to your visual checks and can serve as an additional safety net.
Keep in mind, that no tool is foolproof. Sensors can fail or get obstructed, and sometimes, weather or road conditions can interfere with their accuracy. Therefore, always perform a physical check before making any moves.
Moreover, developing a constant awareness of your surroundings is key. This means regularly scanning your mirrors, being mindful of vehicles that may have been beside you, and anticipating other drivers’ actions. This way, even if a vehicle quickly slips into your blind spot, you’re more likely to be aware of its presence.
Remember, the road is dynamic, and things change rapidly. A tool or a tech feature might not catch every potential hazard, so keep honing your skills. After all, your eyes and your judgment are the most reliable tools at your disposal.
Should You Check Your Blind Spot When Changing Lanes or Turning?
Absolutely yes! You must always check your blind spot when changing lanes or turning. Certain areas remain outside of your direct line of sight while going to the next lane or taking a turn.
Here’s a recommended sequence to check your blind spot for changing lanes or turning:
- First, assess the traffic conditions behind your vehicle. Next, verify the presence of vehicles in the adjacent lanes or the lane you want to merge with.
- Before changing lanes, check your blind spot by turning your head to look over your shoulder. Make sure there are no vehicles in your blind spot or they are far enough to change your lane.
- It is important to signal your intention by using turn signals. Put it on to communicate with other vehicles to change lanes or take a turn.
- Once you have confirmed and are sure that it is safe, merge into the lane smoothly or turn your car without abrupt maneuvers.
This comprehensive approach to checking your blind spot helps minimize the risk of collisions and enhances overall safety during lane changes and turns. It’s a good habit to incorporate into your driving routine.
How to Keep Straight When Checking Blind Spots
To keep straight when checking blind spots, you need to strike a balance between safety and vehicle control.
Here are some steps you can follow to keep your vehicle straight while checking blind spots:
- From a safety perspective, it is crucial to maintain a steady speed. Ensure you’re traveling at a steady speed and avoid sudden accelerations or decelerations to maintain stability.
- Keep a firm grip on the steering wheel with both hands to ensure you have control over your vehicle while checking blind spots.
- While turning your head to check blind spots, utilize your peripheral vision to monitor the road ahead. Glance intermittently to ensure a straight course.
- Keep the time spent checking your blind spot brief. Practice quick glances to minimize the time your eyes are off the road.
- Train yourself to turn your head smoothly without abrupt movements. This helps maintain control and stability during blind spot checks.
- Ensure your vehicle stays within its lane while checking blind spots. Avoid drifting into adjacent lanes during head movements.
- Minimize distractions inside the vehicle while checking blind spots. Focus on the road and surroundings for better control.
- For new drivers or those seeking improvement, practice in a safe, open area. This allows you to focus on maintaining a straight line while checking blind spots.
By incorporating these practices, you can improve your ability to check blind spots while keeping your vehicle on a straight path.
Turning your head to check a blind spot is a good driving practice. It ensures there are no vehicles or obstacles in areas not visible through your mirrors.
Keep in mind that blind spots aren’t one-size-fits-all. Different vehicles have different blind spot zones.
For instance, a motorcycle’s blind spots are not the same as those of a semi-truck. And if you’re driving a vehicle you’re not familiar with, like a rental car, pay extra attention – the blind spots can be in places you’re not used to.
The significance of being aware of blind spots ensures minimizing them as much as possible.
You can reduce the size of these pesky areas significantly by head movement, shoulder check, and properly adjusting your mirrors including your rearview and side mirrors. Technical advancements like blind spot detection systems are an added advantage to enhance the coverage of blind spots.