Eliminating the Blind Spot

Sep 02, 2009
A vehicle’s blind spot is one of a drivers greatest liabilities.  Every year, more than 826,000 vehicles are 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.