Blind spots can be a big worry when driving on any street with more than one lane in either direction. This is why we never change lanes without checking both center and side mirrors, and also turning our heads to look over our shoulder in the direction we want to go (I hope all of you reading this always use a head check!).
Sometimes however we check both mirrors and see nothing – only to do a head check and be really surprised that another motorist is RIGHT THERE! This is usually because that other motorist was in your blind spot.
Now I won’t belabor how dangerous it can be to habitually drive in other peoples blind spots (though I feel like tons of people do this without thinking about it), I’ll just say don’t drive next too or slightly behind anyone for more than a moment or two.
You can however reduce your own blind spots so that you are more likely to see those cars, SUVs, semi trucks or motorcycles (or bikes!) in your mirrors before you do your head check. The process is very simple:
Point your side view mirrors further out.
Here’s why it works. Imagine your car from a bird’s eye view, and the ‘lines of sight’ from your mirrors. Your blind spots are outside of your side view mirror lines of sight but behind the back of your front doors. See the image below. By moving the mirrors out (yes, you likely will no longer see the side of your car in each side view mirror – but you don’t really need to see the sides of your car while driving do you?) you will reduce the size of the blind spot, and also reduce the likelihood that another vehicle will fit fully into that blind spot. If the vehicle doesn’t fully ‘fit’ into your blind spot, then you can see at least a part of it in your mirrors, which is good.
In the image below, the car on the left is how most drivers set up their mirrors (note how there is a lot of overlap between the side mirrors and the rear view mirror – colored blue). There is a large blind spot too. The car on the right is setup much better. Note how small the blind spots are, and there is much less overlap between the side view and rear view mirrors.
I encourage all drivers to try moving their side view mirrors out a little bit to reduce their blind spots. It may feel weird at first, but give it a try, I think you’ll like it!