Blind Spots: Prevention and Liability
Trying to switch lanes only to realize that another car is driving in your blind spot isn’t just annoying — it’s dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, blind spots result in nearly 840,000 accidents every year. While many of these accidents are minor, they result in around 300 fatalities annually.
A blind spot is an area that cannot be directly seen while behind the wheel of a vehicle. Blind spots occur when a driver’s vision is blocked by their windshield pillar, side view-mirror, or rearview mirror. When one car is following another too closely, the leading car may not be able to see them, due to these visibility issues. Vision is also hindered by weather conditions or certain road shapes, like a bend in the road.
Most blind spot accidents occur because a driver, thinking the space is clear, switches lanes or pulls into a turn lane. These accidents often happen very suddenly, and if one driver overcorrects or veers into a third vehicle, the results can be serious.
Thankfully, blind spot accidents are avoidable with a little extra caution and alertness. Set up your vehicle to avoid blind spots by:
- Adjusting the mirrors to frame the rearview window
- Adjusting the left and right side mirrors
While making the proper adjustments prevents blind spot accident, it might not always completely eliminate the chances. Even if the lane looks clear in all your mirrors, briefly turn your head to double check.
To avoid ending up in another driver’s blind spot, be sure to follow them at a respectable distance. Generally, you should have about three seconds of space between your vehicle and the ones around it. This way, if another driver pulls into your lane, you have about three seconds to properly react. When driving behind a truck, you should ideally stay about 20 car lengths away to avoid blind spots.
If another driver is about to pull too closely in front of you, tap your horn to warn them that you are there. If you can safely do so, slow down to let the car pass safely in front of you. Blind spots accidents are just another reason why turn signals are so important! When a driver signals their intent to switch lanes, it gives the cars around them time to react, or warn them if they are in their blind spot.
It’s up to all drivers to prevent blind spot accidents. However, the driver who pulled into the blind spot is often liable for the accident. A driver has the duty to check their blind spots before changing lanes. If they do not, it is considered negligence. In some cases, though, the other driver may also be partially at fault, particularly if they are illegally passing, speeding, or doing something that prevented them from reasonably noticing the other driver, like texting while driving.
Now that you’re aware, you have no excuse to blame near-accidents on blind spots! Check your mirrors, be aware, and you can prevent turning a simple mistake into a serious accident.
The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.