Blind Spots in a car
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 mirrors 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 spot, is to shoulder check. This is why you may hear a lot about shoulder checks when you are learning how to drive.
Due to blind spots, drivers should shoulder check 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 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…
How about now?
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.
- You need one before lane changing
- Just before merging onto a freeway/highway
- When you’re turning right (sometimes left as well) at intersections Right turns without stop signs.
- When reversing, you need a 360 check, which includes a couple of shoulder checks, before
- For a U-turn, 2-point or 3-point turn 2 Point Turn.
- Just before you go into a turning lane
- 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.
How about now?
This is what I see when I do my ‘shoulder check.’
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.