Do you need Blind Spot Driving Mirrors?

Every vehicle has blind spots.

blind spot poster

The void between what you can see looking in your mirrors and what you can see looking out your windows is a blind spot.  Every vehicle has different blind spots.  The shape and position of the mirrors as well as the size and shape of the rig effects what you can see.  Smaller cars have small blind spots.  The space from what you can’t see in a rearview mirror and what you see out your door window is pretty small.  A bike or smart car will fit in there, but most everything else will be visible either through the mirror or window

Problems arise as the vehicles get bigger.

If you drive a van, a pickup, or an SUV anything smaller than you or lower than your mirror can disappear. This is a problem if your driving does not have your full attention.  You need to be attentive, or you could get in trouble fast.

Now you can see why a semi truck’s blind spots can be such a big issue.

 truck on roadA semi truck does not have a rear view mirror, only side mirrors.  A truck loses sight of you soon after you come along side of him, and he can’t see you until he can look down and see you out his window.  In most cases, you “disappear” for 6 car lengths.  You are totally gone.  This is why you don’t run next to a truck.  Most drivers are very aware of this blind spot, and if they see you go in they watch until you reappear.  However, in heavy traffic or emergency situations, they could miss seeing you go in so they are unaware that you are even there.  That is a bad situation and the semi driver, has no control over this situation.  But you do.   Four wheelers have the most control.  With some awareness, you can prevent any problems that may come up.

Another blind spot for truckers is directly in front of them. 

With that big old hood they can’t see you.  I have a friend who squirts around in traffic.  She drives a zippy little car.  I had her sit in the driver’s seat of our truck.  I told her to wave at me when she saw my belt buckle.  It’s about the height of her hood ornament.  When she waved and got out, I was 4 car lengths in front of the truck.  Which means for a driver to see your taillights, you have to be 5 or 6 lengths ahead.  Anything less, and you disappear again.  I actually met a college student who ducked in front of a truck from the passenger’s side.  He didn’t see her slide in, he saw the car in front of her.  She stepped on the brakes and signaled a turn, and he pushed her for a full block before she could get turned away from him onto a side street.  She reported him and they found his truck with her paint on his bumper, but he never knew she was there.  Trucks have so much power they can easily over power a car’s brakes from a stop.  There is nothing the truck driver can do to eliminate this hazard.  The dimensions of his vehicle determines the blindspot.

As the driver of a small rig, it is in your best interests to be aware of this issue.  Prevention is the key.  You have the power to keep the roads safer.

  • *  When you approach a semi, hug the white line, on either side, just a bit so he can see that you are behind him.
  • * If you are passing, use you blinkers to signal your intents.
  • *Pass swiftly and safely.  Do NOT stay next to a truck.  You are TOTALLY invisible.
  • *  When you merge back into the same lane, stay out at least 5 car lengths so he can see your blinkers and knows your intent. 
  • * Be courteous on the roads. 

Driving is a huge part of our everyday  lives.  We all need to work together to keep roads safer for everyone.  Realizing the limitations, like blindspots, of the vehicles around us can make driving more pleasant for everyone.

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