In 2019, car crashes killed more than 36,000 people in the US. And many of these deaths were caused by human error.
One of the biggest reasons accidents are so common? Blind spots. Whether you’ve been driving for 30 years, or you got your license yesterday, you need to know how to check your blind spots.
Many people skip this, and change lanes without looking behind them. Aside from death, this simple mistake leads to countless accidents and damaged vehicles every year.
Want to finally learn how to drive safely, to ensure you don’t become another statistic? Keep reading below for some lifesaving driving tips to help you beat the blindspots.
What Is a Blind Spot While Driving?
First off, it’s time for a refresher. What is a blind spot, and why are they so dangerous?
Blind spots are the areas around your vehicle that you cannot see when looking out the front window or glancing at any of your mirrors.
You can see in front of your car, thanks to the windshield. You can see behind your car thanks to the rear window and your rearview mirror.
And you can see if any cars are next to your car, near the back of your vehicle. But you cannot see the area right next to your car, slightly behind your driver’s window.
This is your main blind spot.
On top of that, each car is built differently. The body of the car will extend into different areas of view.
So when you turn your head to look around your vehicle, a window pillar or headrest might be blocking your view. This is also a blind spot, but it differs from car to car.
Why Blind Spots are Bad
When you’re driving your car, it’s very easy to look forward, out your windshield, and look at your mirrors. Doing so requires very little movement of the head and the eyes.
But blind spots require much more movement in order to properly see if there are any vehicles hidden next to you. Because of this, many lazy drivers just glance at their mirrors before turning or making a lane change.
They think there isn’t a car there, so they move quickly into the next lane. The next thing they know, there is a loud noise and a bump that jerks your car to the side.
You’ve just hit another vehicle that was sitting in your blind spot. You’ve caused damage to both your car and the other driver’s car that will cost thousands of dollars to fix. And you’re the one to blame. Depending on what type of state you live in, that means your insurance is paying for everything.
So you can expect some rate increases and deductibles coming your way.
And that’s what happens if you’re lucky. If you’re going full speed on the highway and change lanes without looking to see if there was a car there, you can potentially spin out of control and cause a serious accident.
Blind spots can kill. There’s no reason to mess with them.
How to Check Your Blind Spots
Checking your blind spots is actually quite easy to do. If you have a good instructor when getting your driving permit as a teenager, the act of checking your blind spot becomes a habit that you never unlearn.
If you didn’t have that, you need to build that habit today.
When you’re driving down the road and want to change lanes, you’ll want to take a quick glance over your right or left shoulder, to see if there are any cars in that spot.
A quick glance should be enough to tell you what you need to know. You don’t want to turn your whole body, as you don’t want to distract yourself while driving. Your focus needs to be on what is in front of you.
Checking your blind spots is even more important for motorcyclists, as they are smaller and much harder to see. Thankfully, you can probably hear them coming. But always look out for motorcyclists as well.
Aside from lane changes, you should also check your blind spots when turning off a road to ensure there are no cyclists coming from behind you.
Get Out of Other People’s Blind Spots
Now you know how to check your own blindspots. That will go a long way to keeping you safe.
But you also need to recognize other drivers’ blindspots and ensure you stay out of them.
Other drivers might not be as aware of their blind spots. If you are in their blind spot, they may not look for you and will slam your car.
This is especially important if you want to avoid an accident involving a semi-truck. Semi-trucks have much larger blind spots. They cannot see directly behind them. If you are tailgating a semi, then you are in some real trouble.
You won’t be able to see in front of the truck, to know when the truck will hit its brakes. And the truck won’t see you, so they might think they can decelerate quickly.
Lucky for us, automotive manufacturers are taking a hint and helping us drivers out with blind-spot technology.
There are a few different variations of blind spot alerts coming out on newer car models. The most common is a light-up sensor on your side-view mirrors. If a car is in your blind spot, a sensor will detect it. It will then cause a light on your mirror to shine bright orange.
Any time you see this light, you know there is a vehicle that is very close to you. You would still want to check your blind spots before making a turn. But this simple solution will help you prevent most blind-spot-related incidents.
Eliminate Preventable Accidents
Now that you know how to check your blind spots, you can avoid unnecessary car accidents on the road. Most car accidents are totally preventable, but this type of accident is one of the easiest to prevent.
If everyone took their blind spots seriously, we would deal with fewer accidents, injuries, and deaths every single day.
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