A drivers blind spot is essentially an obstruction in the observable area around them. Often associated with mirrors, blind spots occur in other areas such as the A-pillars.
Motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians are vulnerable road users due to the lack of protection that drivers of cars are fortunate to have. It’s little wonder then that fatality statistics are higher for vulnerable road users.
However, around two thirds of these accidents happen at or near T-junctions, often as a result of car (and other vehicle) drivers not looking properly before pulling out of the junction. This is in part, due to blind spots associated with A-pillars.
WHERE IS THE A-PILLAR BLIND SPOT
A-pillars located at the front of the vehicle represent a blind spot area for the driver and the wider the A-pillars, the larger the blind spot. The illustration shows the yellow car turning right at a T-junction with the red shaded areas representing the blind spot areas caused as a result of the A-pillars.
As seen, a motorcycle and cyclist are easily be hidden within the A-pillar blind spots. A small car can even be concealed within the blind spots. Pulling out of a junction without properly looking can easily result in a collision.
The real issue however is the amount of time drivers take looking before pulling out of a junction. Not taking enough time to ensure it’s clear, combined with hazards such as A-pillar blind spots results in accidents – as statistics prove.
A-Pillar blind spots
SO WHAT CAN WE DO?
Statistics show that junctions (these include T-junctions, left and right turns, crossroads and roundabouts) are the most dangerous locations. Here are steps to mitigate this problem, it begins with the approach.
Slow down – approach a junction slowly. It allows you to take in more information, assess your surroundings and deal with it appropriately. By approaching slowly, it may also allow you to continue without stopping at certain ‘open’ junctions, therefore saving you time.
Take effective observation – allow for enough time to look at least twice in each direction. Some ‘closed’ or blind junctions require greater observations. If you cannot do this, stop to allow for more time.
By taking more time to observe, you will take in more information and will allow hidden hazards to emerge from A-pillar blind spots. The other benefit is of course knowing that you’re far less likely to kill or seriously injure somebody.
During the turn, remembering that it is a blind area, drivers must shift head left and right to peek behind the ‘hidden areas’ by this A-Pillar to ensure clear before proceeding.