The Real Impact of Seeing into the Blind Spot

Andrew Daniels

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We’ve all had that terrifying moment: You go to change lanes on the freeway, but out of nowhere another car is beside you, and you’re inches away from hitting it. You both swerve, the other driver lays on the horn and you have to remove your heart from your throat.

 

Nearly 840,000 accidents a year are related to the blind spot1 —the place to the left and right side of the car where a passing vehicle won’t show up in your rear-view mirror. How long they remain hidden depends on a number of things, including the size and speed of the passing car. 2

 

Good news: Now you can get technical help from BLIS (Blind Spot Information System)—radar detectors on the side of the new Ford EcoSport that detect vehicles in the blind spot and alert you with a lit icon on your side mirror. According to a 2017 study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 3 blind-spot monitoring systems could prevent 50,000 lane-changing crashes a year.

 

Why not all of them? Because it’s possible to evade the BLIS radar if the passing vehicle is going significantly faster than you or is driving erratically. And because safety tech has to be combined with good driving habits. So always do a quick over-the-shoulder glance and check your mirrors regardless of the BLIS light. Only change lanes when you are certain the lane is clear and you can avoid becoming a statistic.

 

1NHTSA Data: www.nhtsa.gov/DOT/NHTSA/NRD/Multimedia/PDFs/Crash%20Avoidance/2009/811147.pdf

2Mike Flannagan, University of Michigan

3IIHS Data: http://www.iihs.org/frontend/iihs/documents/masterfiledocs.ashx?id=2143

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