Zones Of Vision
With your seat and mirrors properly adjusted, you should have a clear view ahead and a good idea of what is behind you. However, it is important to be aware of what you cannot see.
Your peripheral vision should give you a view of what is in front and to the sides. Keep actively scanning from side to side while you are driving so you are fully aware of any developing hazards.
The interior mirror uses a flat piece of glass and gives the most accurate representation of the view behind. The side mirrors use slightly curved glass which increases the field of vision but also makes things appear further away than they actually are.
To maximise your awareness of what is behind, you should develop the habit of using your mirrors in pairs. If you need to know what is happening behind and to the right of you, first check your interior mirror for an accurate reflection, then check your right mirror to provide a wider angle of visibility towards the right side. By combining your mirror checks in this way, you will gain a genuinely helpful understanding of the movement and speed of following traffic.
Blindspots are areas which are not covered by your peripheral vision or your mirrors. It is surprisingly easy for another road user to disappear in one of these blindspots. It is also surprising how close to you they can get while in this hidden position.
With effective and regular use of mirrors it will be very difficult for another road user to get into a blindspot without you knowing about it. However, anytime you find yourself in a situation in which you are not sure what is there, a quick glance over your shoulder is all that is needed to fill in the gap.
It is also important to be aware that additional blindspots are created by the pillars which connect the roof of a car to its body. Most cars have two pillars at the front (either side of the windscreen), two in the middle, and two more at the back (either side of the rear window). It can be surprising how easily another road user can disappear into one of these blindspots. Be particularly mindful of the possibility of cars, motorcyclists and cyclists being hidden in this way when you are emerging at junctions. When reversing, watch out for pedestrians who may be hidden by the rear pillars. Move your head around to ensure you are checking these blindspots whenever necessary.
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