When you started driving lessons to obtain your driver’s permit, you may have heard your driving instructor discuss checking your blind spots. As soon as you turn on the car’s engine, you must check your blind spots.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states many accidents are caused by drivers not checking their blind spots every year. Every driver must know about vehicle blind spots and how to check them. Here’s what you need to know about vehicle blind spots.

What Are Vehicle Blind Spots?

Blind spots are spots in or on a car that drivers can’t see when they are in a normal driving position. Although all cars have side and rear-view mirrors, you can’t see blind spots. The invisible areas while driving are known as automotive blind spots.

All vehicles have blind spots because of their construction. Vehicles are constructed of a floor, roof, and pillars. These pillars block your view and create a blind spot. Generally speaking, there are four pillars, A, B, C, and D. Pillar A spans the windshield. Pillar B is located in the middle of the passenger compartment behind the front doors. Pillar C is located behind the rear doors, and pillar D is the most trailing part of the vehicle. The width of these four pillars has a tremendous impact on the location and size of the blind spot.

For instance, trucks have larger blind spots than standard vehicles. Many accidents that are caused by blind spots are related to trucks. Did you know you can create a blind spot by putting cargo in the back of your vehicle? Placing cargo in the back of your car can obstruct your view of your surroundings and create a blind spot.

How Many Blind Spots Does a Vehicle Have?

A vehicle has 4 blind spots.  These spots are located in the front, rear, and sides of the vehicle. Different-sized vehicles will have blind spots of different sizes and locations. In general, standard vehicles, such as 2 or 4-door sedans, have two blind spots on the left and right sides. Large vehicles, such as trucks, have four blind spots.

You may be familiar with the phrase “no-go zone”, which refers to blind spots around trucks. If you’re close to the no-go zone, this means you are so close to trucks that the drivers can’t safely stop or avoid you to prevent an accident. Needless to say, no-go zones are high-risk areas, so don’t put yourself in this situation.

If you’re riding past or alongside a large truck, slow down and drive carefully to reduce the risk of an accident.

Where Is the Largest Blind Spot on a Vehicle?

The bigger the vehicle, the larger the blind spot. Big trucks may have the largest blind spot. When trucks change traffic lanes, they will occupy other lanes. If you are in one of the truck driver’s blind spots, it’s best to slow down to prevent a collision.

What Are the Causes of Vehicle Blind Spot Accidents?

Changing Lanes

Vehicle blind spot accidents can be classified into different categories, according to the classification of driving situations. Lane-change accidents are the most common type of blind spot accident. Drivers have a high risk of being involved in an auto accident when they are changing or merging traffic lanes. Make sure you turn on your signal and then change lanes to reduce the risk of an accident.

Traffic Merging

Traffic lane merging is the second most common cause of vehicle blind spot accidents. Drivers are required to increase their speed when merging onto a highway. Because of this many drivers only focus on increasing speed and fail to check their blind spots, especially when merging onto a highway with large trucks passing. As you’re increasing your speed, check your blind spots and surroundings to ensure you can merge lanes safely.

Backing Out Your Vehicle

The third most common cause of blind spot accidents is backing out your vehicle. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that more than 200 deaths and 14,000 injuries are due to backing-out accidents each year. When you’re backing out of a parking space, driveway, or any other location, honk your horn twice to let nearby drivers know you’re backing out. Slowly reverse, checking all of your blind spots to ensure you can safely back out your vehicle.

What Type of Damage Is Caused By Blind Spot Accidents?

The type of damage that a vehicle or injury a person sustains depends on the severity of the accident. Things that can occur for an individual who is involved in a blind spot accident include body pain and mental trauma. As far as the vehicle is concerned, the vehicle may be considered a total loss, which means it will cost more money to repair than the car is worth. Other things that can occur due to a blind spot accident are lost wages.

How Do I Check My Car’s Blind Spot?

When you’re sitting in the driver’s seat, look in your rear-view mirror to see if there is any cargo obstructing your view of your surroundings behind you. If you can’t see clearly out of your rear-view mirror, remove the objects that are obstructing your view. It wouldn’t hurt to also ensure that your mirror is free of smudges.

You will also want to check your side mirrors and ensure they are clear and in good condition. Make sure the side-view mirrors are correctly adjusted for your use. You should check your mirrors every 5-7 seconds while you’re driving. If you need to change lanes, before doing so, perform a shoulder check and turn on your signal. Once your signal is on, perform another shoulder check to ensure you can safely change traffic lanes.

Blind Spot Tips and Advice

Most people want to know what they can do about their vehicle’s blind spots. Here are a few tips you can use to reduce the chance of being involved in a blind spot car accident.

Check Your Mirrors Regularly

It may seem like a hassle or frustrating when you’re learning to drive, but checking your mirrors is essential. Your vehicle has a rear-view mirror that’s located inside the vehicle, and two side mirrors that are located on the outside of the vehicle on the left and right side. You should be checking these mirrors every 5-7 seconds to maintain awareness regarding your surroundings. You should also be performing a few quick shoulder checks when you’re changing lanes to ensure you can safely merge or switch lanes. You may be surprised at how much safer you are when you check your mirrors while traveling.

Use Your Vehicle’s BSD System

If your vehicle has a Blind Spot Detection (BSD) system, use it! This system is an Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) that alerts you when a vehicle is approaching your vehicle from behind in an adjacent lane that is in or entering your blind spot.

Avoid Being In Other Driver’s Blind Spots

Don’t be a blind spot driver! You could put your life and the lives of others in danger. While driving, ensure you stay aware of your surroundings, including the blind spots of other drivers.

We’ve covered where the most common blind spots are in a vehicle, but remember, the bigger the vehicle, the bigger the blind spot. You can’t be sure if other drivers are checking their blindspots or using their mirrors as they should, so make sure you remain safe by avoiding other driver’s blind spots, especially trucks, and other vehicles.

Correctly Adjust Your Mirrors

Position your rear-view mirror so you can see objects behind you. To adjust your left side mirror, lean your head on the driver’s side window, and adjust the mirror so you have a clear view of the back-left corner of your vehicle.

To adjust your ride-side mirror, you will perform the same action. Put your head on the right-side passenger window and adjust the right-side mirror so you have a clear view of the back-right corner of your vehicle.

How Do I Remember to Check My Blind Spots?

Remembering to check your blind spots, use your turn signals, and perform shoulder checks can be a lot to remember, especially when you’re learning how to drive. One way you can remember everything is by remembering the acronym SMOG.

S – Signal. Use your turn signal. It’s a small gesture that has a tremendous impact on your safety.

M – Mirrors. Check your surroundings often for nearby vehicles.

O – Over your shoulder. Your car’s mirrors are important, but you can’t rely solely on the mirrors to maintain your safety while traveling. Always perform a shoulder check to get a view of your blind spots that mirrors can’t show you.

G – Go. Once you perform a shoulder and mirror check, and you have space to switch or merge lanes or pull into traffic, do so.

Now that you’ve learned about blind spots and how to check them, you can drive confidently. Stay alert and stay safe. Happy driving!