What is Blind Spot Driving?

The roads and highways in Nevada and around the nation are crowded and dangerous. Safe driving demands that people pay attention to many variables, including their speed and their position on the road compared to other cars and potential hazards. Either by circumstance or inattention, sometimes drivers end up positioned in the worst possible place: another driver’s blind spot. The blind spot is an area where drivers cannot see behind them properly, if at all, without turning around in their seats. It’s generally understood to be in the area behind your shoulders.

What happens if you’re colliding with a driver positioned directly in your blind spot? Under personal injury law, is that a factor in determining whether someone was negligent or reckless? The attorneys and staff at De Castroverde Law Group get this question often. Here’s what you need to know about blind spots, including whether it can help win your personal injury accident case.

Blind Spot Defined

vehicle driving in the blind spot

The term blind spot is used in driving to refer to zones that a driver cannot see while looking for traffic or hazards in rear-view or side-view mirrors. This is an issue attributable to simple physics. The fields of view provided to drivers via mirrors have natural limits on what they can reflect.

Generally speaking, each vehicle has two main blind spots — over the driver’s left and right shoulder. Because of these limitations, drivers have to turn around physically in their seats to see if there is traffic or other hazards in those spots. And as we well know, taking your eyes off the road for even a moment can be deadly.

Dangers of Blind Spots

Blind-spot driving dramatically increases the risk of severe accidents. This habit is commonly cited in crashes where drivers change lanes and either forget to look or cannot see drivers in the rear. Blind spots can hide other traffic, such as bicyclists or motorcyclists. Many young people fail their first driver’s tests because they forget to check their blind spots.

Blind-spot accidents occur at a larger scale than you might think. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has estimated that some 800,000 accidents per year are related to blind-spot driving. The incidence of blind-spot accidents has prompted auto manufacturers to begin installing new sensor technology that can warn drivers of potential hazards.

Blind Spots and the Law

Blind-spot driving is not illegal per se; rather, it’s a factor in evaluating the circumstances of an accident and assessing liability under personal injury law. One relevant statute is Nevada Revised Statute 484B.127, known as the rear-end collision law. The statute states that drivers must keep “reasonable and prudent” separation between them and other vehicles. The question is whether one party or another was acting negligently or recklessly, thereby causing the accident and the subsequent injuries. You can conceive of circumstances where liability could be assigned to the driver with the blind spot or the driver in the blind spot.

An investigation by police or insurance companies will help resolve the question. The actions in the case may be judged through other criteria, including contributory negligence, which determines if more than one party of an accident can be assigned blame. Insurance companies and law enforcement may also consider the duty of care or whether a person was driving reasonably and checking blind spots appropriately.

If You’re Injured in a Blind-Spot Accident

We hope it never happens to anyone, but if you’re injured in a blind-spot accident, it may be wise to consult with a personal injury lawyer, such as those at De Castroverde Law Group — Personal Injury & Accident Lawyer.

Personal injury law holds people accountable for actions or behavior that the law may deem reckless or negligent. An experienced personal injury attorney will provide accurate and up-to-date information about the law and its application to blind-spot accidents.

Your attorney can also examine the facts and evidence and determine a legal strategy for seeking compensation for your injuries. In a personal injury case, you may be able to get the court to order the other driver or drivers to pay damages to cover emergency and ongoing medical care, for lost wages due to time away from work, and for emotional suffering from the accident.

You won’t necessarily have to file a lawsuit. Your attorney can also negotiate for you with the other driver’s insurance company. Many insurance companies prefer to settle cases outside of court to limit the amount they have to pay in connection with the accident.

Common Scenarios in Blind-Spot Accidents

Blind-spot accidents can happen in a variety of ways. These incidents often involve trucks with a much wider field of view to consider when operating on the highways.

Other common blind-spot accidents can result in the following scenarios:

  • Lane changes can happen when drivers forget to check their blind spots or don’t see the cars behind them.
  • Merging: Similar to lane changes, this involves the challenging tasks of maneuvering your way into traffic and getting up to speed to join the flow of vehicles.
  • Sideswiping: Pulling away from the curb when not checking your blind spot can have nasty consequences. This is particularly risky in big cities with new dedicated bicycle lanes.

In each instance, the proximate cause of the collision is diminished visibility as vehicles linger in zones where drivers cannot easily see them.

How To Improve Blind-Spot Visibility

Traffic conditions change rapidly; the flow of cars is seemingly never-ending. No adjustment can provide a guarantee against blind-spot accidents. But there are some steps to lower your risk.

First, as a matter of routine, drivers should check and refocus their mirrors regularly. They should also practice using over-the-shoulder checks to take quick glimpses of the road before turning their eyes forward again. Another guard is to keep lane changes to a minimum, which is easier said than done.

Being educated about the dangers of blind spots can go a long way toward keeping you safe on the road.

Counsel in Blind-Spot Accidents

The attorneys at De Castroverde Law Group have extensive experience in personal injury and accident cases. If you’ve been injured in a blind-spot accident, let our team support you in navigating the legal process. We can help investigate the circumstances of your case and recommend a legal strategy for proper compensation. Call us, or contact us online for a consultation.

Photo Credit: Driving… by Elliott P. is licensed with CC By-SA 2.0