Have you ever had a close call because you missed seeing a car, even after checking your car’s driver’s side and passenger side mirrors?
“Kiss an imaginary parrot on your shoulder,” is the technique one motorist uses to check her blind spots when changing lanes.
Another driver mentioned the “shortcomings” of typical rearview mirror positioning when he nearly crashed into the side of a police cruiser while merging onto a highway. Since that day, he changes lanes one lane at a time, straightening out in the lane to check for traffic in his side mirrors before moving into the next lane.
While Blind Spot Monitoring Systems are becoming readily available on automobiles, basic proper mirror placement can undoubtedly prevent accidents and save lives.
Starting with the interior rearview mirror, position the mirror so that it provides a centered view of what’s directly behind your vehicle.
Kiss an imaginary parrot on your left shoulder. Adjust the driver’s side (left) mirror so that the left side of your vehicle is ONLY SLIGHTLY VISIBLE. Most people set their driver’s side mirror to reveal too much of their vehicle, thus creating blind spots.
Sitting up straight in the driver’s seat, kiss an imaginary parrot on your right shoulder. Adjust the passenger mirror so that the right side of your vehicle is only slightly visible.
To test for blind spots, look for a vehicle to show up in your interior rearview mirror. As the vehicle disappears from view, it should immediately show up in a side mirror – if not, readjust your mirrors until there are no blind spots.
According to a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Blindspot Detection Systems – typically warning lights found inside mirrors – lowers the rate of all lane-change crashes by 14 percent and the rate of lane-change crashes with injuries by 23 percent.”
Blind Spot Monitoring Systems check the area behind and to each side of a vehicle and provide an alert when other vehicles enter these zones. When a vehicle enters the monitored zone, the appropriate rearview mirrors are illuminated to alert you that a vehicle is there.
If you activate a turn signal to change lanes while other vehicles are in the zone, the warning lights will flash brightly to warn of traffic in close proximity, advising you against changing lanes.
The faster another vehicle approaches, the earlier the signal in the outside mirror appears.
There are system limits, however. Blind Spot Monitors can automatically deactivate when driving through tight curves in the road. In this situation, the deactivation occurs without a driver information message. After driving through the curve, the Blind Spot Monitor automatically reactivates and the system is available again.
When it comes to Blind Spot Monitoring Systems, as KT Tunstall might say, “Suddenly I see, why the h_ _ _ it means so much to me.”