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Are You Blind To Backup Danger?
Drivaware and Safe4Kids Tests Show Larger Vehicles Have Larger Blind Spots
If you have a sport utility vehicle, it is probably because they are big and you believe they're safer than other vehicles. But Drivaware
and Safe4Kids News has uncovered some information about a safety issue that affects virtually every vehicle on the road. When you back your vehicle up, you look in the rearview mirror, and
it is easy to see if an adult is in the way. But what if a small child is standing there? Statistics show that 28,000 children were taken to emergency rooms last year when they were run over
by a vehicle backing up. Before you get behind the wheel, you'd better know more about your vehicle's blind spot. Robin Giglio's
22-month-old son Hayden, somehow got behind the family SUV as they were backing away from his grandparents' house. "I relive the accident every day," Giglio said. "Hayden ran
behind the car and I couldn't see him at all and I hit him." Drivaware and Safe4Kids's Investigators went to a supermarket parking lot and placed orange cones the size of a small child
behind some vehicles that were backing out. The people in the vehicles checked their mirrors and took their time backing up, but they couldn't see the cone because of the blind spot. If it had
been a child, he or she could have been seriously injured, if not killed. With the help of John Long of AAA Mid-Atlantic, Drivaware and Safe4Kids set
up a blind spot demonstration with Alexis and Annemarie volunteering to be the drivers. Cones were placed directly behind different cars, vans, pickups and SUVs. In an older-model Toyota
Corolla, Alexis didn't spot the cone until it was moved 9.5 feet behind her. However, Annemarie spotted it sooner -- after 8 feet 3 inches. Why was there a difference with the exact same car?
Annemarie is 8 inches taller than Alexis. The shorter you are, the harder it is to spot things when you back up. In the demonstration, Drivaware and Safe4Kids discovered that the bigger the vehicle,
the bigger the blind spot. With a Jeep Grand Cherokee, the blind spot was over 20 feet 5 inches. The Ford Windstar's blind spot was about 25 feet and the Land Rover had a 36-foot blind spot.
Drivaware and Safe4Kids found out it was even worse when the blind spot was directly behind the spare tire and the middle seat headrest. Alexis couldn't see the cone for over 182 feet -- that's over
half the length of a football field. You can reduce your blind spot, Long said. "In the third seat of a passenger van, put it down in the resting position and it will give you somewhat
greater visibility as you look over your shoulder," Long said. Many vehicles have sensors that beep when something is close. You can also reduce your blind spot by raising your power seat
to let you see at a greater angle. If you don't have a power seat make sure you turn around and lift yourself up as much as possible -- that always reduced the blind spot in tests by AAA Mid-Atlantic.
You should also always make sure you look behind the vehicle before getting in and hit the horn briefly to warn anybody who might be in
your blind spot.
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.
More than 2,400 children are accidentally backed-up over each year in the U.S.
And of those, more than 100 die. With the proliferation of SUVs and mini-vans, drivers aren't aware of the enormous rear view blind spots that prevent
them from seeing what's behind them, especially small objects, animals, people, and children. Some of these blind spots are even greater than the length of an average driveway! Senators Hillary
Clinton (D-New York) and John Sununu (R-New Hampshire) have recently proposed legislation requiring the U.S. Department of Transportation to issue regulations aimed at reducing accidents that frequently
kill or injure children in cars. But until that legislation is passed, it's up to the driver to protect their loved-ones and prevent a tragedy by using a Park
Assist system or a backup
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated 2,767 people were treated in emergency rooms from July 2000 through June 2001 because of backovers. "This is a huge problem," Fennell
said. "A lot of [the problem] is due to the change in our vehicle mix" that has more people driving tall-profile vehicles, she said.
Indeed, Fennell's research indicates that "in 60 percent of the [backover] cases, it's a truck, van or SUV that's involved," Fennell said. The reduced rearward visibility is caused by
the design and tall profile of SUVs, pickup trucks and even vans.
The top edge of the tailgates and liftgates in these vehicles typically sits high and so do the vehicles themselves. This means that unaware children and small-stature adults and anything not
tall enough to be visible in the rear window glass might be run over as the vehicle is backing up.
Consumers can choose from a wider range of aftermarket vehicle-backup systems since our last report, including new and improved designs.
All such systems are intended to help drivers detect objects within the blind spot behind the vehicle.
New are camera systems such as the Audiovox and ParkFX we
tested that offer a “picture in the mirror” feature. The display is on a mirror that fits on top of or replaces the existing rear-view mirror, so you don’t have to choose between
looking at the display and at the rear-view mirror while backing up. ParkFX also combines a camera with an audible sensor, so you can see and hear
potential trouble. We would like to see more backup warning systems on the market that combine camera and sensor technologies.
Backup systems are typically marketed as parking aids, not safety equipment. But our tests show that the camera models can also help drivers avoid backover-accident injuries and fatalities.
LaneFX Driver Safety Products Are On Sale!
See the current specials and promotions and get your LaneFX for less. Save up to 20% on LaneFX products and we usually ship the same day.
Special discounts are available for Volvo XC90, S80 owners, owners of Audi vehicles equipped with SideAssist, all AARP members, and current AllState policy holders.
|Defensive Driving: Self-Study Program
Teach driver safety to your own employees onsite, in about 90 minutes, with the National Safety Council’s NEW Defensive Driving Course (DDC) Self-Study Program. Based on our proven effective
Defensive Driving Course, it’s perfect for individual motorists or fleet drivers unable to attend regular DDC classes. Special Offer
During National Safety Month!
|New 5-Minute Safety Talks Available Now!
Available exclusively to members of the National Safety Council, Safety Talks provide a year's worth of topics for your monthly safety meetings! Bulletin boards, rule books, signs
and posters are all great ways to present your safety messages, but there's no substitute for straight talk! That's why we've developed two collections of sixteen 5-Minute
Safety Talks, each with English and Spanish text. You can purchase the sets individually, or as a combo set at a discounted price during National Safety Month.
Defensive Driving On-line Training
The National Safety Council now offers four online training options tailored to fit your budget and your employees' schedule. Based on their classroom counterparts, these online programs
use state-of-the-art animation, video, narration, and interactive screens to teach your employees defensive driving techniques.
Virtual Defensive Driving Course
The new Virtual Defensive Driving Course (Virtual DDC) from NSC and Raydon combines the proven defensive driving course curriculum with actual behind-the-wheel driving time in a simulated
environment. This virtual driving instruction allows drivers to gain important insight AND experience in potentially hazardous situations.
This guide to teen driver safety assists families in understanding and managing the journey their teens will travel from beginner to independent driver. The guide takes years of scientific
data and translates it into practical information for parents and teens to use in reducing teen crash risk.
This FREE CD-ROM contains a wealth of information on safety and health issues that impact people of all ages – children to older adults – in a variety of settings – at work,
on the road, in homes, and in the community. The SHP Center receives funding from various federal agencies which allows it to develop programs and materials to offer to the public. The resources
available on the Safety 24-7 CD-ROM offer solutions that are designed to help you make a difference.
Better than some automakers "detectors"
LaneFX actually shows you what's lurking in your blind spot!
- Change lanes safely: Always use your turn signal before changing lanes or merging into highway traffic lanes. Turn signal aftermarket
power mirrors are great, but they still don't give you complete coverage of the cars in your blind spot.
- LaneFX is the best automotive technology for your auto safety.
- Unlike some automakers' systems, Lane FX has no blinking lights, no false positives, and no learning curve. It uses what you normally use: your vehicle's side mirror!
- Perfect for new drivers with learner's permit. Don't take the DMV driver license test without it!
- Volvo XC90, S80 and Audi Q7 blind spot detectors can't
match LaneFX. In each of these systems, the blinking lights in your blind spot mirrors can get very distracting.
- LaneScan is a good solution for semi-trucks, but for your commercial van fleet LaneFX is the clear solution because of its OEM compatibility.
- Lane FX Fleet Edition now available for light and medium duty commercial trucks and vans. It's preferred 2-to-1 by commercial fleet
managers over the LaneScan Go Zone system.
- AARP: helps senior drivers avoid fatal accidents by advocating proper turn signal use and and 100% checking of senior driver's blind spot.
10 Things You Can Do to Reduce Your Risk of Auto Collision
- Get a good start at intersections. This helps cut commute times for the individual as well as for countless others. Make it through one extra light and that’s an average of two minutes
that isn’t wasted sitting in traffic.
- Don’t stop prematurely at yellow lights. Not only is it often highly dangerous (if the driver behind isn’t paying attention), it also wastes time, money and gas and promotes traffic
congestion, stress and frustration.
- Utilize turns efficiently, especially right turns. How drivers perform turns determines how much time is wasted, and congestion is created for what can be hundreds, even thousands of drivers.
- At least match speeds on on-ramps and utilize the full length of the on-ramp. Merging early and failing to get up to speed on on-ramps often creates tremendous congestion, wastes time and gas
and can be extremely dangerous.
- Let faster drivers by without slowing. This eliminates stress and they’ll likely eliminate large amounts of congestion farther ahead for you, thus saving you valuable time.
- Safely pass slower vehicles. Failing to swiftly and safely pass by slower vehicles — especially large vehicles such as motor homes and 18-wheelers — is the No. 1 cause of traffic
- Look ahead. Read traffic flow properly so that acceleration, deceleration and lane changes can be properly timed. The less often drivers have to slow down, the more fuel, time and money is
saved and less traffic congestion is created.
- Change lanes properly. This will help prevent slowing, preferably without losing speed and without causing others to slow down.
- Utilize right and left turn combinations rather than sitting at red lights. Not only is gas, time and money being saved, there is less congestion at that light.