Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Nobody leaves their house expecting a car accident. However, in most accidents, you have an immediate opportunity to see what is happening and prepare for it. In the event of a collision from your blind spot, you have no such warning.
Blind spot collisions are more common than you might think: According to statistics from the National Highway Safety Administration, over 800,000 blind spot accidents occur every year. While blind spot collisions are rarely fatal (approximately 300 deaths resulted from those 800,000), any type of accident can have deleterious effects that last long after the collision itself.
Understanding accidents with blind spots
The vehicle’s blind spot, also known as the “no zone” around a large truck, is the area where a driver cannot safely observe what is happening to their eyes or mirrors around their vehicle. Blind spots generally occur when a vehicle is either directly or almost next to you, as your rearview mirrors monitor vehicles behind you while your eyes are on the vehicles in front of you. Blind spots can also be caused by the side mirrors themselves and the chassis pillars that surround doors and windows. The blind spot can also vary from driver to driver, depending on the size or type of vehicle.
Blind spot accidents generally happen when a vehicle changes lanes, especially when traveling on high-speed freeways, roundabouts, or intersections. Failure to check the blind spot when merging or changing lanes can lead to dangerous collisions, including tail and broadsides.
This is how you prevent collisions with blind spots
Correct use of the mirror
Make sure your mirrors are properly adjusted so that you have the maximum visibility of your vehicle. Finding the right angles for your mirror can be critical to avoiding accidents of any kind, not just those that come from the blind spot. Consider upgrading to convex mirrors that allow for a greater view of your car, or add a small blind spot mirror to your current mirrors.
Use your eyes
Just because your mirrors are properly adjusted and you seem to be in the clear, there is nothing better than taking a quick look around before you merge or change lanes. Your eyes are your most effective weapon for detecting and avoiding potential collisions, and you should (safely!) Use them to check that the trail is freely accessible.
Monitor and avoid blind spots
Pay attention to the blind spots around your own vehicle, but also to the blind spots of the vehicles around you. Driving outside of other drivers’ blind spots can help avoid collisions before they can ever occur.
Follow the traffic rules. Operate your vehicle at a safe and constant speed as sudden changes in speed can be unexpected and cause you to get into someone’s blind spot without them noticing. Maintain a safe distance bubble between yourself and other drivers – this will give other drivers a chance to see where you are. You also have time to react if another driver makes a mistake or suddenly and unexpectedly changes lane.
Many people enjoy listening to music, podcasts, or talking on the phone while driving. This can distract your attention from what is happening around you and put you in danger of not noticing that someone is entering your blind spot or that you are entering someone else’s blind spot. To avoid accidents, it is important to have proper focus on the road around you.
Notice the cars around you: how they behave, what speed they move, whether it is their turn or the brake lights are on. Notice if an unusual vehicle such as a large truck is driving near you, as trucks have a much larger blind spot than a typical car. If you own a larger vehicle like a van or pickup truck, watch out for smaller cars that can disappear into your blind spot in a way that a larger vehicle cannot.
What happens to blind spots after an accident?
If you have become the victim of a driver who has not properly checked their blind spot, there are several steps you should take. Most importantly, make sure you are getting proper medical care. The forces involved in a collision can lead to injuries that may not be immediately apparent. It is important that you begin your recovery from the accident as soon as possible.
© 2020 by Console and Associates. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 329