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Are All Blind Spot Mirrors the Same?
The areas most commonly referred to as blind spots are the rear quarter blind spots, areas towards the rear of the vehicle on both sides. Vehicles in the adjacent lanes of the road may fall into
these blind spots, and a driver may be unable to see them using only the car's mirrors.
Other areas that are sometimes called blind spots are those that are too low to see behind and in front of a vehicle. Also, in cases where side vision is hindered, areas to the left or right can
become blind spots as well.
Beware of Setting Your Mirrors "Wide"
Mirror alignment is often done incorrectly by drivers. There is a tendency to want to provide context for the side mirror view by having the rear of the driver's own vehicle in the mirror frame.
When improperly aligned the side view mirrors widen the perspective offered by rear view mirror, but still not providing full coverage of the blind spot areas around SUV's, light trucks, minivans
and even commercial vans.
Even with a head-turn, the driver should continue to look forward, in the direction the car is traveling. This is accomplished by using the correct blind spot mirrors or blind
spot detection system. Exaggerated head-turns, where the driver actually faces backward for a moment to check the blind spot, are dangerous because the vehicle in front
may come to a sudden stop just at that instant resulting in a rear-end collision.
Key Strategies for Total Driver On-Road Awareness
Defensive Driving is the Number One Key to Safe Driving Habits
If you've been out on the roads, you know that not everyone drives well. Some people speed aggressively. Others wander into another
lane because they aren't paying attention. Drivers may follow too closely, make sudden turns without signaling, or weave in and out of traffic.
Aggressive drivers are known road hazards, causing one third of all traffic crashes. But inattentive driving is becoming more of a problem as people "multi-task" by talking on the
phone, eating, or even watching TV as they drive. We can't control the actions of other drivers. But learning defensive driving skills can help us avoid the dangers caused by other people's bad
Skills That Put You in Control
Before you get behind the wheel of all that glass and steel, here are some tips to help you stay in control:
Stay focused. There are a lot of things to think about when driving: road conditions, your speed, observing traffic laws and signals, following directions, being aware of the
cars around you, checking your mirrors - the list goes on. Staying focused on driving - and only driving - is key.
Distractions, like talking on the phone or eating, make a driver less able to see potential problems. It's not just teen drivers who are at fault: People who have been driving for a while can
get overconfident in their driving knowledge and let their driving skills get sloppy. All drivers need to remind themselves to stay focused.
Stay alert. Being alert (not sleepy or under the influence) allows you to react quickly to potential
problems - like when the driver in the car ahead slams on the brakes at the last minute. Obviously, alcohol or drugs (including prescription and over-the-counter drugs) affect a driver's reaction
time and judgment. Driving while tired has the same effect and is one of the leading causes of accidents. So rest up before your road trip.
Watch out for the other guy. Part of staying in control is being aware of the drivers around you and what they may suddenly do so you're less likely to be caught off guard. For
example, if a car speeds past you on the highway but there's not much space between the car and a slow-moving truck in the same lane, it's a pretty sure bet the driver will try to pull into your
lane directly in front of you. Anticipating what another driver may do prepares you to react.
Seven Secrets to Total Driving Awareness
When you drive defensively, you're taking control of the situation and keeping your eyes open for aggressive or inattentive drivers who might cause an accident. Here are seven easy things you
- Think safety first. Avoiding aggressive and inattentive driving tendencies yourself will put you in a stronger position to deal with other people's bad driving. Leave plenty
of space between you and the car in front. Always lock your doors and wear your seatbelt to protect you from being thrown from the car in a crash.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Check your mirrors frequently and scan conditions far ahead of you. If a vehicle is showing signs of aggressive driving, slow down or pull over
to avoid it. If the driver is driving so dangerously that you're worried, try to get off the road or highway by turning right or taking the next exit if it's safe to do so.
- Assume the worst. Assume that drivers will run through red lights or stop signs and be prepared to react. While driving, imagine that other drivers (especially truck drivers)
don't see you when you are making your way into their path. Also, keep an eye on pedestrians and pets along the road.
- Stay cool, calm, and collected. It's best to avoid making eye contact with aggressive drivers. As hard as it can be, ignore any aggressive facial or hand gestures. And don't
race aggressive drivers - you run the risk of inciting their road rage. Other drivers do stupid things. The best drivers don't get mad or try to get even.
- Get the authorities involved. If you see an aggressive driver or trouble ahead, get to a safe place to pull over and call authorities or the police. Any information you can
provide - a description of the vehicle, its license plate number, the direction it's going - will be helpful. Some areas allow you to use your cell phone to call the appropriate authorities with
special numbers like #77. If an aggressive driver crashes or causes an accident, try to stop safely a good distance from the scene. Wait for the police to arrive so that you can tell them about
the aggressive behavior you witnessed.
- Don't drive if you are under the influence or very sleepy. Alcohol, illegal drugs, and some prescription medications affect a person's judgment, including the ability to make
important braking and steering decisions on the road. That means you'll be less able to react quickly and drive defensively. Sleepy drivers can be just as bad as intoxicated drivers, so make
frequent rest stops or let a friend drive if you're tired.
- Don't take risks. When in doubt, don't pass. And keep a safe following distance. That way you can avoid a collision, stay in your lane, and not get rear-ended if the driver
in front of you slams on the brakes.
If you're interested in taking a full defensive driving course, contact your state's Department of Motor Vehicles. All states keep a list of defensive driving courses that are approved by the
state - even some that are online. They cost money, but some insurance companies give people who've taken the course a discount in insurance rates.
Happy (defensive) driving!
Drivaware Publishes Automakers' Scorecard on Driver Visbility and Average Blind Spot Zone Size
Automakers' average blind spot zones vary greatly. Automakers that produce
larger, taller vehicles have larger blind spot zones than conventional passenger vehicles without impeded side and rearviews. All measurements do not account for the use of blind spot mirrors
or blind spot detectors (like Valeo Raytheon's and Volvo's BLIS systems). Blind spot zone sizes are a combination of the side blind spot zones (as applicable in lane changes) but exclude the size
of the rear blind spot zone that result when the vehicle is in reverse (backover condition).
Average Size of Model Lane Change Blind Spot Area
(avg. for all 2006 models in feet)
||Average Size of Model Lane Change Blind Spot Area (avg. for all 2006 models in feet)
How To Avoid Car Gadgets & Choose the Right Park Assist Technology for Your Driving Safety
Aftermarket companies offer three types of backup systems: rear-view cameras, sensor systems, and mirror tilt-down. Use Types to
decide which type best suits your needs. For all camera and sensor systems, we recommend professional installation.
No matter what type of system you choose, consider these things when deciding on a specific model:
Know how the device mounts on your vehicle.
Camera and sensor systems that are mounted on the vehicle’s bumper or bodywork may necessitate drilling. They may not be the best choice if you lease your vehicle.
If you have a hitch, you can consider a model that mounts in the trailer-hitch receiver. But you would have to remove the system to use your hitch.
Other camera and sensor models mount on the license-plate frame. But some states prohibit frames because they can obscure the plate.
Within types, features vary. This is especially true with the sensor models we tested. The ultrasonic systems were generally the most sensitive, but their performance was adversely affected
by rain, snow, or other inclement weather.
The microwave-based sensor systems we tested were not affected by weather but are less sensitive as a group. They also don’t warn the driver unless the vehicle or object behind it is moving.
The display quality of the camera-based models is very good, although it doesn’t match that of the larger screens on some carmakers’ systems. Most of the system displays turn on when the
vehicle shifts into reverse, but one, the Audiovox, must be turned off and on manually.
Ditch Your Stick-on Convex Blind Spot Mirrors Today
Stop Distorting Your Rearview and Compromising Your Side Mirror Vieweing Space
Drivaware has come up with something useful: the LaneFX , a controller that connects
your power mirrors to your turn signals, so that when you signal (you do signal before you turn, right?), your mirrors swivel outward to show your blind spot. Hey, if this keeps just one cyclist
out of the hospital, I'm happy.
Generally speaking, larger vehicles have larger rear blind spots. For example, the blind spot behind a typical sedan could only hide a small animal, while
the blind spot of an SUV can hide small children, resulting in as many as 50 children being killed by reversing SUVs each year.
The blind spot behind tractor trailers can contain entire vehicles, which is one reason many trucks carry warnings not to follow too
close, such as "if you can't see my mirrors, I can't see you." This is partly because the driver's position is higher in a tractor-trailer.
Larger vehicles also have much larger front and side blind spots. Tractor-trailers have not only large rear quarter blind spots, but also a large blind spot directly to their left and to their
There are a number of products available to consumers to deal with the blind spot problem. Convex mirrors, often called "spot mirrors" can bring blind spots into view, but their optical
properties impart a great deal of distortion so as to make it difficult to judge distances. Newer technologies using aspheric mirrors allows the blind spots to be virtually eliminated
while minimizing distortion.
Merging Into Highway Traffic Proves Difficult for Most Drivers
Drivaware reports lane changing on busy highways can be difficult for even the most experienced drivers. The secret is to plan ahead by knowing what other vehicles are doing around you.
In Drivaware's interactive demo on safe lane changes and merges, the car in the right lane is traveling faster than your car. Many impatient drivers will (wrongly) tailgate slower vehicles traveling
in the fast lane. Be proactive! Avoid this situation by staying right as much as is practical. In this example, it would be best to move your vehicle over to the right lane as soon as it is safe.
Be smarter than the other guy! Use your turn signal every time you change lanes along with the new
LaneFX system. Before you make your move, look in your side and rearview mirrors to make sure the
lane is clear. If there is another vehicle in the lane, or if there is another vehicle in the right lane behind you (at a distance) which is overtaking you at a fast speed, stay where you are. Wait
for that vehicle to pass you.
Remember you have blind spots, and that the blind spot on the right is larger than on the left. Before you change lanes, turn your head carefully to check the appropriate blind spot.
When you decide it is safe, turn the steering wheel in the direction you wish to go. Change lanes quickly, but smoothly. Do not wander as you change lanes. You always want to appear confident and
in control of the situation.
Once you've successfully negotiated the lane change, make sure your turn signal is off. This is important. If other drivers see that your turn signal is always on, they may not trust you on the
highway! They will never know when you want to turn and when you don't.
Basic Skills for Safer Commutes
Driving has changed a lot since most of us first got behind the wheel. This section will help you to keep a constant watch on your surroundings, the vehicles and people around you at all times.
An important factor to take into consideration when driving is to check your mirrors frequently, and also check the blind spots, by looking over your shoulders before switching lanes or making
turns. As we age, most of us become less flexible, so check out the information on this site about exercises that will keep you limber and help you drive safely.
Knowing the needs of other traffic like trucks, buses, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians is very important. For example, trucks should be provided with
extra space, as they need wider turning
lanes, watch out for buses, as they need to enter traffic from stopping lanes, and give pedestrians plenty of time to cross the road.
Everyone has one or two problematic areas of driving. Click the links on your right, to the areas that give you trouble. We can all improve our driving.