To avoid most of the blind spot area, it is possible to adjust the side mirrors so they have hardly overlap with the rear view mirror and the blind spot between side mirror and peripheral view is minimized. It is still recommended to cast a quick glance over the shoulder before actual moving over a lane, though this is mostly to confirm that nobody from 2 lanes over is moving into the same lane, because further away from the vehicle is still a significant blind spot.
Most drivers however adjust side mirrors so that they can look at their own car (not some kind of new worship but because they are concerned when manouvring in tight spots to hit the side of their vehicle) but this results in unnecessary large blind spots.
Then of course there are the yojos who are essentially driving blind, either because they are in too much hurry to even consider others, or too distracted or because they value window tinting more than driving safely at night.
In Europe all trucks and buses are now equipped with blind spot mirrors after too many unnecessary accidents caused enough outcry that it was put in law to equip trucks and buses with this life-saving equipment - after a lot of opposition from the industry claiming that it was not necessary and increased cost. I guess the same ridiculous statement as Ford once made, that a law on mandatory passenger restraints would put them out of business.
The really simple solution to vehicular distractions is to remove them. Get rid of the 49 buttons on the entertainment system, 14 selectors on the HVAC controls, and all 985 other accessory things. Of coursethat will never happen because all of those items are profit items, and profit is held to be FAR mor important than safety. Not publicly, but really.
And why do all of the instrument panels look the same, and have similar controls mounted in the center? It started because it is cheaper to build that way, and it continues because none of the car makers management has the courage to head off in a different direction. The marketing wonks have decided that everything in the center is what people will be allowed to want, and since there is no choice, they buy it, "which proves it was the right choice". A few guages in front of the driver, with headlight switch and wiper switch to the left of the steering wheel, and all of the unimportant stuff in the middle, like heater, AC, and radio. The main concept has been that people really want the stuff, because that is the answer that marketing has been giving for a lot of years. And so now the competition is on to see who can make the most profit from the most distractions. We were possibly better off whenm the emphasis was on horsepower.
RICKZ28, I find it harder to turn my head quickly, too, as a result of aging. But that was never a good idea anyway, since it takes your eyes about as far off the road as they can get (= more than 90 degrees). IAC, that's one reason I installed the stick-ons a few years back. What a world of difference! But I agree with you, the fix should not be up to an aftermarket solution.
Ann, I'm not sure if poorly placed stick-on blind spot mirrors have been caused a problem. It's just an observation by me. Maybe those who install their own aftermarket blind spot mirrors are better drivers since they've addressed the problem and check blind spots.
I think automotive designers and engineers would be best at understanding the blind spot issue and the correct blind spot mirror placement, rather than drivers with aftermarket products.
As I get older, it's harder to quickly turn my head around while driving to check a blind spot. I'm thinking plenty of older folks have this problem while driving.
RICKZ28, I didn't realize how many problems had been caused by incorrectly locating the stick-on blind spot mirrors. It's not that hard to do, assuming you can orient yourself in space, have reasonable hand-eye coordination, and understand how rear view mirrors work :)
Good for you, Nadine. I think it was Marshall McLuhan that is credited with saying "the medium is the message" and I would add the medium is really hard to ignore. I suspect there are quite a few drivers out there that view the world as one big "reality TV show" in which they are the star. Unfortunately driving takes place in the real world and it requires constant attention. What's needed is ways to simplify driving, not make it more compllicated.
Excellent post Charles. During my time in the Air Force, I worked with a Major who flew F-4s during Viet Nam. One of the comments he made relative to that fighter-- a great job was done with the instrument layout. Apparently some aircraft have less than desirable instrument placement. This was before "heads-up" displays became available. High speed movements necessitate quick looks at instrumentation and apparently the F-4 allowed that to happen without significant errors when time was precious. I'm one of those people who cannot talk on a cell phone and drive at the same time. You may as well get me off the road when the phone rings or I'm a danger to just about everybody within 100 miles. I think there are three areas that could benefit greatly from changes in the automotive industry. These are as follows: 1.) Hands-free cell phones, 2.) Heads-up displays and 3.) Considerable work to maximize and make more efficient instrument layouts for the driver. Of course we are talking about new cars. I'm certainly gratified to know the industry is considering removal of distractions when and if at all possible.
I am years developing & manufacturing car's security and safety systems. Teenager and proffesional drivers my aim market. I have new concept for driver diversion. I see all 14 photos , its expancive and not so efficient systems. Maybe its more promotion purpose than the be helpfull realy. I have few out of box concepts and products line for new generation cars. like most of innovations that no in the market I offer to car manufacturers in Turkey.
In order to develop those products needed only car's manufacturers R&D department. I don't have the right connections to realise and also create new jobs oprtunities for High-Tech engineers in USA and also in Canada. Its direct benefit, the next benefit its safety for next generation for drivers on road
Ann, I agree...why do the car manufacturers not have built-in blind spot mirrors built-in to the regular side mirrors? I think that would be a great addition. For myself, analyzing my driving, that's the most time I have my eyes off the road in front of me, when I'm checking my blind spots before changing lanes. I'm very careful to check blind spots, but that's still the most near-misses for me (both city driving and highway). I try to not drive in other's blind spots, but I regularly yield to drivers that did not check their blind spots before changing lanes (I watch them not check blind spots, and frequently no mirror check or blinker).
I've seen many people apply the aftermarket stick-on blind spot mirrors right in the "sweet spot" on the side mirrors, so it blocks their regular mirror view...perhaps doing more harm than good. Engineers can better determine the best position for a blind spot mirror than the regular driver.
Who is responsible for the terrible controls engineering in vehicles? Why do all the car companies seem to walk lock step with poor design practices?
At one time, you could distinguish the car's controls by their very distinctive feel and location - no need to look. These days you have a maze of identical buttons many in long rows that take your eyes off the road while you search out the button you want. The same applies to all the buttons on the steering wheel - you have to look down to find the right button. How hard would it be to to give distinct contours to the buttons and their locations? Steering wheel stalks seem to be designed to activate your wipers when you want to turn and switch to high beam when you want to turn on your wipers. The designs demand that you take your eyes off the road.
Perhaps the worse example of irresponsible design is the Prius and Mini, among others that have their speedometer in the middle of the dash. Bodyshops report that the most common collision point on these vehicles is the front left corner. Every other manufacturer has followed this design blunder by locating the main graphics display well away from the driver's line of sight down the road. I've responded by mounting a stand alone GPS low on the dash right in my line of sight after many frightening surprises after glancing at the factory GPS down and well off to the right. This modification has certainly reduced my stress level when driving in unfamiliar territory.
It's too late for the greatest safety hazard of all, the cellphone. The horse left the barn years ago. Daily I come across drivers slowing right down when they're on the phone and then speeding off when they get off - and then repeating. I've even seen a driver stop in the middle of an intersection while in the middle of a conversation, oblivious to the traffic and another drive right through a red light.
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