What you don’t know can’t hurt you.
It’s a ridiculous statement, of course. If you don’t know you have an illness, you won’t go to the doctor, and so that can hurt you. If you don’t know – to go with a comical, nonsensical example – that an Acme safe is falling from the sky and about to fall on you, that, too, can hurt you. What you don’t know can hurt you when taking a test.
And, of course, when driving, we’re taught immediately that what we don’t know can hurt everyone.
In other words, beware of the blind spot, the areas around your car that you can’t see despite looking out of all your side view and rear-view mirrors. For most of automotive history, the blind spot has been something drivers have had to contend and co-exist with. Drivers have always been able to try to do what they can to help their vision, but the options have never been great – like glancing over their shoulder before a lane change, which is fine, except that for a moment you aren’t looking at the road ahead.
Collision avoidance cameras have, of course, helped out with the blind spots that come when backing out of a driveway or a parking spot. But they can’t help when making those lane changes on a highway. For those, you need a blind spot indicator, one of Alta Mere’s most popular driver safety products.
It might be easy to think that this is some car device that sounds nice and impressive, but it’s one that you don’t really need. Still, before you take that mindset, there is some evidence that suggests the blind spot indicator is actually almost as important a development in car safety as the seat belt. A new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that came out last year found that collision avoidance technology, of which blind spot indicators are a part of, cut the rates of single-vehicle sideswipe and head-on crashes by 11 percent. That resulted in 21 percent fewer injuries – and if all passengers had been equipped with collision avoidance technology in 2015, the year this data was collected, more than 55,000 injuries wouldn’t have occurred.
So if you’re wondering whether you should get a blind spot indicator, obviously that’s an answer that only you can come up with, but there are two main ways they’ll benefit you.
Blind spot indicators are following traffic even when you aren’t. Mostly when you’re driving on a freeway or in traffic with several lanes, you’re looking ahead at the road and not thinking, for the most part, about blind spots. But blind spot detection technology, which uses sensors on the side and back of the car, tracks the traffic just behind you along with what’s coming alongside your car – all the time.
Blind spot indicators alert you, in two ways. When a car is in your blind spot, you’ll receive a light on the outside door mirror. That should be all you need to know not to make the lane change. You look in the mirror, and, oh, there’s a light. Thanks. Great. I’ll stay put.
But if somehow you don’t notice it, and assuming you’ve turned on your turn signal, you’ll get another alert, in effect telling you – Do. Not. Make. This. Lane. Change.
If you’re diligent enough to get a blind spot indictor, you’re probably the sort of driver who will pay attention to the signals it releases. In any case, having one can’t hurt, and with all the distractions on the road, and inside the car, with kids squealing and playing computer games, a blind spot indicator will probably only help.
For more information on blind spot indicators and other driver safety products, visit your local Alta Mere The Automotive Outfitters.