Blind Spots In A Car – #1 Undeniable Challenge Of Driving

blind spots in a car

Blind Spots in a Car

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What are blind spots in a car, you ask? It’s simply a specific area or areas, that you can not see when you are sitting in the drivers seat. You can’t see this area in your mirrorsOpens in a new tab. or in the corner of your eye(s).

So, something such as another road user could be right beside your vehicle, and you potentially can’t see it at all.

Obviously, this is bad!

The only way to know if something is in your blind spotOpens in a new tab., is to shoulder check. This is why you may hear a lot about shoulder checks when you are learning how to drive.

You can also check out these blind spot mirrors.Opens in a new tab. These can be very helpful for seeing into your blind spot, while driving, but also when parking and backing up.

Due to blind spots, drivers should shoulder checkOpens in a new tab. anytime before they are about to move the vehicle over more than about 1 meter. This is to check for other vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists – anything or anyone – who might be in the blind spot.

Blind Spots in a car while driving diagram

Notice that the vehicles directly behind your shoulder – basically – are in your blind spot. You can not see this area by looking in your mirrors, in the corner of your eyes, or with your peripheral vision.

Keep in mind that different vehicles will have different blind spots. You need to get familiar with where they are every time you are driving a different vehicle.

blind spots in a car

Blind Spots in a car While Driving

Let’s dig deeper. Let’s take the following photo of a driver point-of-view as an example. In the rear-view mirror, not much is happening. We can see a silver car in front, a black truck, a red Porsche, and nothing in the left-side mirror, correct?

Does anyone see the driveway to the underground parking lot?

there could be a car about to turn to their left…

left blind spot

How about now?

driveway blind spot

Shoulder Check Technique

Generally to do a shoulder check, a driver should peak over the left or right shoulder (whichever direction the vehicle is about to be moved) out the back-side window; although this may vary slightly with different vehicles, such as a convertible with the top up.

Do what you need to do to ensure you can ‘check’ the blind spot area.

Typical situations drivers should shoulder check include

  • Before pulling over to the side of the road (You are driving down the road and you want to pull over and stop beside the edge or the curb).
  • Before pulling into the road (as pictured above). I.e. you are parked beside the curb and you are about to drive away.
  • Just before merging onto a freeway/highwayOpens in a new tab.
  • When reversingOpens in a new tab., you need a 360 check, which includes a couple of shoulder checks, before
  • Anytime before you will be moving over more than 1 meter.

Does anyone see the dark minivan in this picture?

This is what I see without doing a shoulder check.

blind spots when driving

How about now?

This is what I see when I do my ‘shoulder check.’

left shoulder check into blind spot
Blind Spots, Blind Zones & Stop...
Blind Spots, Blind Zones & Stopping Distance - For New Drivers


Blind spots can seem somewhat freaky to new drivers. But they aren’t that bad. You just need to learn exactly where they are, and how big they are, for each individual vehicle that you drive. Then, you can practice the proper shoulder checking technique, and make sure you know when to shoulder check.

Entire vehicles can ‘hide’ in your blind spot. This is just a normal part of driving. As a new driver it’s important to learn about proper mirror use. That, together with strategically-timed shoulder checks can ensure your safety while driving.

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Carmen became a driving instructor at the age of 22 in North Vancouver, Canada and is an experienced writer, blogger, photographer, artist, philosopher, certified day dreamer and generally complicated human.

6 thoughts on “Blind Spots In A Car – #1 Undeniable Challenge Of Driving

  1. Hi
    Assume you are in the midle lance and driving 70mph and you want to change the lane passing the care in front of you. Do you check over shoulder?

  2. Sometimes when checking to the left, the car drifts slightly to the right as I look away. How do I prevent this?

  3. with checking blind spots, do you have to turn your body so much that the instructor sees this? bc when i took my test, i failed with the reason that i missed looking in blind spots. i constantly checked my mirrors and had looked in my blind spots while doing lane changes and merging with highway traffic by turning my head and looking over my shoulder but still got marked off as not doing them. my body didn’t turn that much and i wondered if that was part of it. someone suggested i wear a ball call so the instructor can see wear i’m looking or that my head is turning. any suggestions?

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