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Accidents Caused By Blind Spots

Blind spot in vehicle side mirror

There are many dangers when driving a motor vehicle. From poor weather to poor road conditions, from distracted drivers to vehicles that malfunction, drivers must remain alert and aware every second. Unfortunately, there are some dangers that drivers cannot easily see coming. These dangers live in the blind spots. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that 40% of any vehicle is made up of blind spots. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration did a Large Truck Crash Causation Study that concluded that 14% of large-truck crashes occurred due to the truck driver’s inadequate surveillance — in other words, their inability to see what was in a blind spot. These dangers are not avoidable, but it is possible to reduce their risk. If you or a loved one have been injured in a blind spot accident, an experienced New Hampshire personal injury attorney with Friedman & Bresaw, PLLC may be able to assist you in seeking compensation. Call (603) 707-4800 to schedule a free consultation and learn more.

What Are Blind Spots?

A blind spot is any area that the driver of a vehicle cannot see when driving while they are looking straight ahead at the road or looking in their mirrors. If a driver must turn their head to see what is in a space, it is a blind spot. Every vehicle has inherent blind spots, mostly to the side rear of the vehicle. However, the size and shape of the vehicle determines the size, shape, and location of the vehicle’s blind spots. The larger or higher off the ground a vehicle is, the larger its blind spots can be.

Additionally, there are other factors that can contribute to or create blind spots, including:

  • A driver’s height and posture: Consumer Reports performed a study that found a height difference of just seven inches could create a blind spot that, in some cases, is double the size for the shorter driver.
  • Driver flexibility and mobility: A driver with a neck injury may not be able to turn their head as far, or a motorcyclist may not be able to turn their head far enough because of their helmet.
  • Cargo load and positioning: A vehicle with cargo packed to cover the back and side windows has a much more limited field of vision behind it.
  • Time of day: The sun near the horizon may shine directly in mirrors or in a driver’s eyes and make seeing more difficult for them.
  • What the vehicle is doing: A semi-truck making a turn will only be able to see their trailer in one mirror and open space or lanes of traffic moving the other direction in the other mirror.

What Is Blind Spot Driving?

Blind spot driving is the act of driving in another driver’s blind spot. A very common example of blind spot driving arises when a driver follows closely behind a semi-truck in order to use the suction the semi-truck creates to “draft” and save on fuel. Another example would be when a driver drives alongside the trailer of a semi-truck. Blind spot driving can occur with any vehicle of any size, however. Blind spot driving is extremely dangerous and should be avoided.

What Are the Risks of Blind Spots?

The most obvious risk of a blind spot is that it can result in an accident. But there are several other risks to blind spots. Consider the following hazards:

  • Drivers cannot see or be seen in a blind spot.
  • Drivers must guess at the size and shape of a blind spot to gauge a safe distance and location to avoid being in the blind spot.
  • Drivers must take their eyes off the road to check blind spots.
  • If they are surprised by a vehicle in their blind spot, drivers may overcorrect and cause an accident.

What Kind of Accidents Do Blind Spots Cause?

Blind spots, or the failure to thoroughly check them, can be responsible for many types of accidents, including:

  • Sideswipes: Commonly occur when a driver is changing lanes or merging into traffic.
  • T-bones: This type of collision is common when a driver’s view of traffic crossflow is partially obstructed.
  • Underride: When a semi-truck changes lanes without looking and traps a smaller vehicle under the trailer, these often catastrophic dragging accidents can occur.
  • Pedestrian collisions: Windshield posts may be particularly likely to cause blind spots that obstruct a driver’s view of pedestrians.
  • Backing up: The driver may run over adults, children, animals, or objects in the vehicle’s rear blind spot.
  • Driving forward: In larger vehicles such as SUVs, drivers may run over children, animals, or objects in front of the vehicle because of a blind spot directly in front of the vehicle.

If you have been injured as a result of a blind spot accident, Friedman & Bresaw, PLLC may be able to assist you in recovering damages for your injuries and damage to your vehicle.

What Kinds of Injuries Do Blind Spot Accidents Cause?

Blind spot accidents are similar to other types of motor vehicle accidents. Therefore, the injuries that result from these accidents are also very similar. These injuries may include:

  • Back and neck injuries
  • Concussions
  • Internal injuries
  • Wrist injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Lacerations from broken glass
  • Seat belt injuries
  • Injuries associated with being ejected from the vehicle

New Hampshire is a fault state for motor vehicle accidents. The state uses a modified comparative fault system. This means that when there is a car accident, each driver is assigned a percentage of fault. As long as a driver is deemed 50% or less responsible for the accident, they can pursue a claim to be compensated for their injuries and property damage. The money a driver receives will be reduced by their percentage of fault. If a driver is 51% or more responsible for the accident, they are unable to receive compensation for any injuries or property damage.

How Can I Avoid Blind Spot Accidents?

While blind spots will always pose some danger, there are things drivers can do to significantly reduce the danger. Some of the ways drivers can avoid blind spot accidents include:

  • Being alert and aware of traffic, road, and weather conditions
  • Making sure they can see a semi-truck driver’s face in the truck’s mirrors to avoid being in the truck’s blind spot
  • Making eye contact with pedestrians or cyclists waiting to cross the street in front of them
  • Checking around the car for people, animals, or objects before getting in
  • Adjusting the mirrors to reflect as much of the vehicle as possible
  • Packing cargo so it does not obstruct the driver’s view
  • Turning their head and looking out the windows instead of relying solely on the mirrors
  • Using turn signals for every turn and lane change early enough to alert other drivers
  • Passing other vehicles quickly instead of driving next to them
  • Keeping objects out of their field of vision
  • Being familiar with the unavoidable blind spots for their vehicle
  • Using anti-blind spot technology when available to assist with other safety steps

Does Anti-Blind Spot Technology Help?

Many newer vehicles are now equipped with a variety of collision-prevention technologies, such as lane departure warning systems and forward collision warning systems. For blind spots, there are blind spot warning systems and rear cross traffic warning systems, as well as blind spot intervention systems that apply the brakes when a vehicle is detected in the blind spot when a driver is changing lanes. Backup cameras can also assist with blind spots.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) examined the effectiveness of anti-blind spot technology in police-reported lane-change collisions. The organization found that blind spot monitoring reduced crashes of all severities and with injuries by 14% and 23%, respectively. This technology can be extremely effective. However, it does not replace driver awareness.

Have You or a Loved One Been Injured in a Blind Spot Accident?

Blind spots are unavoidable, but the accidents that result from them are not. If you or a loved one has been injured in a blind spot accident, you may be able to recover compensation. A knowledgeable New Hampshire personal injury attorney with Friedman & Bresaw, PLLC may be able to assist you with your claim. Call (603) 707-4800 to schedule a consultation and discuss your legal options.

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About the Attorney
Jesse Friedman

Jesse has personally represented thousands of clients throughout the State - from juvenile delinquency offenses through homicides. He has extensive trial and litigation experience and has obtained favorable outcomes for thousands of clients throughout the years.

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