blind spots

Blind spot (automobile)

Blind spots, in the context of driving an automobile, are the areas of the road that cannot be seen while looking forward or through either the rear-view or side mirrors. Blind spots can be eliminated by overlapping side and rear-view mirrors, or checked by turning one's head briefly, or by adding another mirror with a larger field of view. Detection of vehicles or other objects in blind spots may also be aided by systems such as video cameras or distance sensors, though these are not common in automobiles sold to the general public.

Blind spot areas

The areas most commonly referred to as blind spots are the rear quarter blind spots, areas towards the rear of the vehicle on both sides. Vehicles in the adjacent lanes of the road may fall into these blind spots, and a driver may be unable to see them using only the car's mirrors. Other areas that are sometimes called blind spots are those that are too low to see behind and in front of a vehicle. Also, in cases where side vision is hindered, areas to the left or right can become blind spots as well.

Mirror settings

Equipment that can help eliminate the blind spot are "fish eye mirrors" or "bubble mirrors" which are stuck to the side-view mirrors via an adhesive. These allow you to easily see any vehicles in your blind spot.

Another newer development is a blind spot eliminator.

Effect of vehicle type

Generally speaking, larger vehicles have larger rear blind spots. For example, the blind spot behind a typical sedan could only hide a small vehicle, while the blind spot of an SUV can hide small children or vehicles, resulting in as many as 50 children being killed by reversing SUVs in the United States each year . The blind spot behind tractor trailers can contain entire vehicles, which is one reason many trucks carry warnings not to follow too close, such as "if you can't see my mirrors, I can't see you." This is partly because the driver's position is higher in a tractor-trailer.

Larger vehicles also have much larger front and side blind spots. Tractor-trailers have not only large rear quarter blind spots, but also a large blind spot directly to their left and to their front-right.

There are a number of products available to consumers to deal with the blind spot problem. Convex mirrors, often called "spot mirrors" can bring blind spots into view, but their optical properties impart a great deal of distortion so as to make it difficult to judge distances. Newer technologies using "aspheric" mirrors allows the blind spots to be virtually eliminated while minimizing distortion by enlarging the field of view by 1.4 to 1.7 times.

More recently, some vehicles have been fitted with a 'rear view camera', which is usually fitted in the back to allow easier view from behind without having to look back. These are much more useful in Tractor Trailers, which cannot see from behind at all without these cameras.


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