What Do You Need to Know About Blind Spots and Driving

One of the first things you’ll learn in your driving lessons is the importance of observation. Being aware of your surroundings is what will keep you – and everyone around you – safe. But it can be a difficult skill to master. Especially when it comes to checking your blind spot.

Blind Spots and Driving

What is a ‘bind spot’?

A ‘blind spot’ refers to any point that you cannot clearly see by either looking forward at the road or using your mirrors. The only way you can view them is by turning your body to gain a better line of sight. And in some instances, you still might not be able to see every blind spot. The most common blind spots are the areas concealed by the body of your vehicle. And the areas to the rear left and right of the vehicle.

How can you check your blind spots safely?

In most cases, checking your blind spots is simply a matter of looking over your shoulder. It’s easy enough. But the difficulty can be in doing so safely. Best practice is to check your front view, check your mirrors, check your front view again. And then turn to look out of the back passenger windows. Check your front view again before manoeuvring.

When should you check your blind spots?

While it’s important to remain alert and aware of your surroundings while you are driving, most of the time that you are in motion, your front view and mirrors will be enough to keep you safe. But there are a number of occasions when checking your blind spot is integral. These include:

  • Before you take off – To ensure that you’re not going to impact with another driver or pedestrian.
  • At junctions – The body of your vehicle can easily hide any oncoming traffic from either side. Performing a full check is essential to avoid accidents.
  • When changing lanes – There are a lot of multi-lane roads in Birmingham and the wider West Midlands. So, whether it’s a dual carriageway or a motorway, you must check to make sure that no one has driven into the space you wish to move into. This can be particularly important in areas where there are likely to be cyclists sharing the road.
  • When two roads are merging – You might not be moving out of your lane, but when roads are merging, there’s a good chance that other people will be. So, you need to be on the alert to ensure that you’re not blocking anyone else or causing an obstruction.
  • After an emergency stop – You can’t really prepare for an emergency stop. And other drivers who don’t know what’s going on, may well attempt to overtake, or exhibit other unpredictable behaviours. So, before moving off again after performing an emergency stop, it’s really important to fully check your surroundings. Including your blind spot.
  • Before turning – Whether you’re turning off a road or conducting a three-point turn, you must check your blind spots. Otherwise, you could potentially experience a collision.

What do you need to know about blind spots and your driving test?

Failing to check your blind spots on your driving test is marked as a serious fault. This will mean an automatic fail. Even if you do everything else right. So, before you take off, ensure that you clearly check your blind spots. And repeat the process every time you encounter one of the above scenarios.

Checking your blind spots can seem daunting when you first start learning to drive. You don’t want to take your eyes from the road ahead. But with practice, it becomes an automatic part of driving. So, don’t panic. Take your time. And have plenty of practice!

If you are looking for a driving instructor in Birmingham, Cannock, Walsall, Solihull, or any of the surrounding areas, get in touch with DGN Driving.    

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Thomas Baugh

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