A vehicle’s blind spo
t is one of a drivers greatest liabilities. Every year, more than 826,000 vehicles
involved in accidents caused by a blind spot. While these accidents
are very rarely fatal, they have a high incident of injury and can
cause major property damage. For the small fleet owner, this effect
can be devastating in lost time, repair, and medical costs.
Much research and development has gone into creating systems that eliminate the dangers that blind spots pose. Ford
has introduced an option on newer models known as the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS)
which uses radar to scan an area beside the car for any objects between
the bumper and the side-view mirror. If an object is present, a small
light on the mirror illuminates to alert the driver to the presence of
something in their blind spot.
Several new Ford and Chevrolet
models are also equipped with a small extra mirror integrated into the side-view mirror called the BlindZoneMirror
. Each mirror is tailored to the specific model of vehicle it is attached to and has won a 2009 Automotive News PACE award
, which honors “superior innovation and technological advancement.”
While technological solutions are helpful, it is still important
that drivers are aware of how to monitor their blind spot. George
Platzer, the inventor of the BlindZoneMirror, has also developed a
manual system that allows a driver to eliminate the blind spot
completely: First, the driver leans his head against the driver’s side
window and adjusts the mirror so that the side of the vehicle is just
barely visible. Then he leans to the center of the vehicle (between
the front seats) and does the same with the passenger-side mirror.
Once the mirrors have been properly adjusted, a vehicle approaching
from behind should appear in the side-view mirror before disappearing
from the rear view. Then it should appear in the driver’s peripheral
vision before leaving the side-view mirror.
Ford chief safety engineer Steve Kozak wholeheartedly approves of
the method: “If we could train everyone in the United States to do it
that way, then I think we would probably be a lot better and we
wouldn’t need a system like [BLIS],” he said.
Make sure your drivers understand the importance of checking their blind spot.Photo courtesy of nimish gogri
under the Creative Commons License