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.
Before we get into A-pillars and blind spots, let’s take a look at a few statistics which might help to enlighten you to the hazards associated with our congested roads.
Based on accident statistics for the year 2014, there were 3,401 seriously injured cyclists and 113 fatalities. For the same year, there were 5,289 seriously injured motorcyclists and 339 fatalities. Motorcyclists represent just 1% of all road traffic, however in terms of all road traffic fatalities, motorcyclists represent 19%
Motorcyclists and cyclists are vulnerable road users due to the lack of protection that drivers of other vehicles such as 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.
What Are Car Pillars?
Car pillars are the vertical pillars around the car located between the glass (see diagram). Typically, A-pillars are located at the front of the vehicle either side of the windscreen, B-pillars, or centre posts are located on the side, often in between the doors and C-pillars at the rear, either side of the rear windshield. Longer ‘estate’ cars may have D-pillars located to the rear, with B and C-pillars located to the side.
Essentially the pillars provide structural support to the roof and attachment locations for the doors. The amount of pillars vary depending on the make and model of vehicle, as does the length and width of the pillars.
A-Pillar Blind Spots
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.
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 on UK roads. To make the process safer, 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.
Other Blind Spots
Blind spots can be found in other areas such as the vehicles mirrors. For further information, see: