As a new driver, there’s loads to learn. One of the most important things you’ll pick up in those early driving lessons is a healthy respect for your blind spot.
What is the blind spot?
The blind spot is an area around your vehicle which you can’t observe when driving, even using your mirrors. Although your mirrors give you a good view of the road behind you, that view is not complete; there’s plenty of room in your blind spot to conceal an entire car or motorcycle!
Failure to properly check your blind spot can lead to accidents and, if you forget to check it during your driving test, an instant fail. Obviously we don’t want you to fail for something like that, so we’ve put together this guide to understanding your car’s blind spot and knowing when to check it.
Where is the blind spot?
The exact size and location of your car’s blind spot is affected by your windscreen, dashboard and pillars as well as any passengers or cargo that you might have in the vehicle. However, the rough location is outlined by the diagram below.
The yellow cones show what the driver of the blue vehicle could see by using their mirrors. Notice that each side mirrors creates a field of visibility and so does the rearview mirror, but that field does not extend as far as you might think. The driver of the blue vehicle can clearly see the green vehicle in both his side and rearview mirrors. However, the red vehicle is nearly totally invisible. Imagine what would happen if the blue vehicle moved into the right hand lane without checking their blind spot!
When should I check my blind spot?
1. Before driving off from a stationary position
It is very common to fail a driving test for failing to check a blind spot before driving off. You must always check your right hand blind spot by looking over your right shoulder before moving off. During your driving test, the examiner will ask you to park on the left and then ask you to move off again; this is so they can check to see if you observe your blind spots.
2. Whenever changing lanes
For obvious reasons, you’ve got to check your blind spots and mirrors before changing lanes. Check your left hand mirrors and blind spot before changing into the left lane and check your right hand mirrors and blind spot before moving into the right lane. Easy.
3. Whenever there are vulnerable road users near by
If you’ve recently overtaken a cyclist or motorcyclist, take extra care to check your blind spots before turning or changing lanes.
Can I get rid of my blind spot?
Small additional mirrors can be attached to your side mirrors to reduce the size of your blind spot. They require careful positioning to achieve maximum performance, but they’re affordable and are well worth the money for a new driver who’s keen to stay safe.
Image courtesy of dsagovuk @ Flickr via Crown Copyright.