Here at Subaru of Niagara, your safety on the road is important to us. One of the many road hazards we encounter every day is blind spots. Not everyone knows how to properly adjust their mirrors to eliminate them so here are the basics about blind spots and how to avoid them.
What is a Blind Spot?
A blind spot is any area that cannot be seen while looking forward or through either the rear-view or side mirrors. Blind spots can occur when the driver’s view of the road is blocked from in front (vehicles frame) or behind (headrests, passengers, cargo, etc.) them.
Dangers of Blind Spots
Blind spots can vary in sizes. For compact Sedan’s, the blind spot could hide a small motorcycle, whereas a tractor trailer can hide multiple vehicles. Because of this, not only should you be aware of your own blind spots, you need to be aware of others. The most common blind spots are the rear quarter blind spots, which are the areas towards the back of the vehicle on both sides.
Because of blind spots and their potential to hide objects, there is a chance of a collision occurring in the short amount of time that it takes you to check a blind spot. To reduce the chance of collision, make sure your mirrors are adjusted properly so you only need to glance at your mirrors, not turn your head completely, so your attention stays on the road as long as possible.
How to Avoid Blind Spots
Getting rid of blind spots is actually pretty simple; it’s all about angling your rear-view and side mirrors correctly. Your rear-view mirror should be angled so that its view is directly out your rear window. Don’t tilt it to either side, that’s what side mirrors are for.
Side mirrors should be adjusted so that you don’t see the side of your car. To do this, sit normally in your driver’s seat, tilt your head left so that it almost touches the window. Then adjust the mirror so that you can barely see the side of your car. Do the same for the right side mirror by sitting as close to the center of the car as possible and adjusting the mirror so you can barely see the side of your car.
Adjusting your mirror is not the only thing you should do to avoid blind spots. You should still be doing shoulder checks before turning or changing lanes, but those checks will feel more like a peek.
Use your peripheral vision too. Peripheral vision might not be as clear as central vision, but it is more sensitive to light and movement so it helps us to detect if anything is happening that we aren’t looking directly at (like a suddenly stopping car).
Always keep a clear view while driving. So be sure to keep anything that could block your view, out of windows. Your windows, especially your windshield and driver- and passenger-side windows, should not be coated with anything (like tint) that would make it difficult to see in or out of. Be sure to keep your windows as clean as possible as well.
Testing Your Results
The next time you are driving in the right lane, take a moment to follow a car driving in the left lane with your mirrors. Without moving your head, look in your rear-view mirror and follow the car in the left lane. Before it disappears from view, quickly glance at your left-side mirror. You should be able to see the car immediately. As the car passes out of view, you should be able to see it in your peripheral vision through your driver-side window. Do the same thing for your right side mirrors while in the left lane. If your mirrors are adjusted properly, your blind spots should be eliminated. If you notice a blind spot for even a fraction of a second, your mirrors need to be slightly adjusted.
Subarus are built to keep you safe, but we can’t control everything that happens on the roads. Keep these and our other driving tips in mind and stay safe!