Many drivers will have experienced that gut-wrenching feeling when changing lanes on a motorway or pulling out of a parking space when they have almost caused a collision because another vehicle or road user behind them has been hidden by a blind spot.
And a new survey by the AA has found that 44 per cent of drivers believe their car has a dangerous blind spot.
Road safety statistics suggest this is becoming a growing problem, with almost 1,000 accidents in 2022 involving drivers blaming their vehicles’ blind spot.
Almost half (44%) of drivers have a dangerous blind spot in their car, and one in five (22%) have a blind spot over their shoulder.
Of drivers who say their vehicle has a dangerous blind spot, just over a third (35 percent) have had a collision or near-miss because of their restricted vision.
Blind spots are created when the windshield or door pillar is in the way, or when the windshield wipers do not completely wipe the windshield.
As modern cars need to meet increasing safety standards, door pillars in particular have become thicker to improve crumple zones that protect interior occupants in the event of a crash.
The downside to this is that it restricts some visibility for drivers, especially when checking over the shoulder when changing lanes or exiting junctions and side roads.
More than a fifth (22 percent) of drivers surveyed by the auto group said they had problems with a blind spot when looking over their shoulder, whether caused by a side pillar next to or just behind their head, and an additional fifth say the windshield pillar creates a significant blind spot.
And these blind spots can have fatal consequences.
2022 government statistics recorded 17 deaths road collisions where a blind spot was a contributing factor.
There were 929 collisions resulting in injuries, of which 1.8 percent resulted in deaths.
This was the most recent year in which statistics were recorded and, worryingly, the numbers reached the highest level in five years.
Blind spots that restrict drivers’ vision have been a factor in 63 road deaths and more than 1,100 serious injuries in the last five years, the AA reports.
One in 10 drivers surveyed had an accident or near miss in a parking lot due to a blind spot
Tim Rankin, CEO of the AA’s Accident Assist, offers a bleak view of recent accident data.
It says: “Over the past five years, blind spots that restrict drivers’ vision have been a factor in 63 road deaths and more than 1,100 serious injuries.”
“It is clear that most drivers know where their vision outside their vehicle is restricted, but the risk of them failing to detect another road user remains considerable.
“Distraction, information overload in busy driving environments, and just a ‘bad day’ can cause a driver to not be as diligent as usual about checking where they know they are partially blind.”
Weather-dependent blind spots are a particularly critical problem because they appear and disappear.
About 6 percent of survey participants said that when it rains or snows heavily, they have a blind spot on the passenger-side windshield.
Likewise, 5 percent have the same problem due to dirty roads in winter.
When it came to the driver’s side windshield, 4 percent and 3 percent respectively had the same problems.
And with more than one in 10 spots occurring in a parking lot, it’s clear that blind spots can be a real dangerous event at low speeds, especially for pedestrians.
How Blind Spot Assist Can Help Prevent Accidents
Blind Spot Assist is part of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). Monitors the area behind and immediately adjacent to the car to detect potential collisions and intervene to avoid them.
A small warning like this red triangle, usually accompanied by a noise alert, will let the driver know that there is a car or hazard in the blind spot.
For some years now, new cars have been launched with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), part of autonomous driving technology. These are safety systems that are designed to increase driver safety.
ADAS use cameras and sensors to detect potential collisions and alert the driver.
These may include adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and collision warnings.
However, what is most applicable here is the blind spot assist function.
The blind spot constantly monitors the area behind and adjacent to your car. This is usually an area of up to 10 feet.
Assistance will then actively intervene and use the vehicle’s brakes and steering to avoid a collision.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the U.S. Highway Loss Data Institute found that blind spot warning technology has provided a 23 percent reduction in lane change crashes with injuries.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also noted a 14 percent lower crash involvement rate for vehicles with blind spot monitoring than the same models without it.
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