One of the most critical yet frequently overlooked aspects of safe driving is managing blind spots.
Whether you're a novice, regular or a professional driver, understanding and checking blind spots, those areas around your vehicle not visible in your mirrors, is crucial in maintaining safety on the road.
As professional driving trainers(and by the way regular drivers ourselves) at Business-Risk Consulting, we often find one reflex missing in many drivers: the over-shoulder or blind spot check.
This simple yet essential habit can make a significant difference in your driving experience and safety. But first, let's understand why it's so important.
When you're behind the wheel, your attention is constantly divided between various tasks and elements of the road. While mirrors are indispensable tools for situational awareness, checking your close and far vehicle surroundings, they can't cover every angle.
There are areas on both sides of your vehicle that mirrors can't reach – these are your blind spots.
In these hidden areas, a vehicle, motorcycle, cyclist, or pedestrian could be lurking unnoticed. This becomes particularly significant in high-traffic areas or situations where road risks are elevated.
Due to our driving habits, or bad attitudes, we may fail to check these blind spots continuously, assuming they are clear because we checked just a few moments ago.
But road situations change rapidly, and within seconds, a new vehicle or a swift motorcycle could move into your blind spot.
So, how do we mitigate this risk? By making the over-shoulder check a natural part of your driving routine as a second nature.
It's a simple act – just a quick glance over your shoulder (right or left, depending on the side) to verify that there's no unseen object or vehicle in your blind spot, and with this you will feel more safe.
Now, when should you perform this check? Here are a few critical instances:
Whenever you change your vehicle's position on the road: Whether you're changing lanes or merging into traffic, always check your blind spots before making your move or overtaking or even in some case if you want to avoid an obstacle on the road!
When you leave your waiting or parking position: Before you pull out from the curb or a parking spot, ensure your blind spots are clear.
Maintain constant awareness: In reality, safe driving requires a 360° awareness of your vehicle's surroundings at all times and it allows you to anticipate.
Managing blind spots is a fundamental part of safe driving and road safety behavior.
Neglecting to do so could lead to accidents or worse. By incorporating the habit of the over-shoulder check into your driving routine, you enhance not just your safety but also that of others sharing the road with you.
Remember, safe driving is not just about what you can see in your mirrors but also about being aware of what you can't and the guideline is being prepared for the worse, avoiding being surprised.
So, drive safely, and make sure you check those blind spots at all time!