5 Ways to Improve Visibility While Driving
October 17, 2012 by Alison Lakin
Without a clear view of the road to see potentially dangerous situations and assess changing conditions, you’re essentially driving blind. Drivers are exposed to a large amount of information while behind the wheel, and it takes concentration and a good sense of your surroundings to manage the barrage of details. This isn’t a problem, unless your visibility is compromised. This isn’t surprising news, and yet many of us drive with blind spots the size of McMansions hovering around our cars, compromising safety and increasing the likelihood of an accident. Change your outlook with these five ways to improve your visibility while driving.
Correct That Blind Spot
There’s no reason any of us should drive with blind spots. Correcting the problem is all in the angle of your mirrors. You want to set your side mirrors out fifteen degrees on both sides. On the left side, lean your head so that it’s even with the driver’s side window and adjust the mirror so you can just see the side of your car. For the right mirror, do the same while keeping your head in the center of the car. It might take time to get used to the mirrors in this position, but their new angle should completely remove that unsafe blind spot.
For even more reassurance that another vehicle isn’t approaching without your knowledge, opt for a blind spot warning system when you next purchase a car. It’ll alert you to unseen cars along your flanks.
Invest in a Backup Camera
Vehicles with higher ride heights suffer from a loss of below-the-tailgate visibility, meaning you’ll be completely unaware that toys, pets, or fire hydrants are impeding your path. A backup camera removes the concern that your quick reversal out of the garage will end in the demolition of your son’s Big Wheels and the disfigurement of your own set of wheels. Improve visibility by getting one as an aftermarket part or installed when you next shop for a new car.
Use Parking Sensors
Though cars are continually getting larger, parking spots seem to have remained frustratingly small. Not to mention, parallel parking in tight spaces is daunting at the best of times. Parking sensors audibly guide you through a ding-free parking experience. Like the backup camera, these are available as aftermarket parts or an option on new vehicles.
Check Visibility During a Test Drive
Vehicles come in all shapes and sizes, which means their windows are sized and angled differently as well. Unfortunately, some combinations can reduce your visibility while driving. The best time to get on top of the vision issue is when you’re first in the market for a new car. On your test drive, make sure that you have a clear line of sight out of the back. Fiddle with the side mirrors and adjust them as needed. Are you comfortable with the amount of road that you see? If so, check that off the list and get on with your new-car shopping. If you aren’t, try driving some other models or ask about their tech products – maybe they’ve already tackled the problem with a blind spot warning system or parking sensors.
Uncover Those Windows
Kids need sun shades to protect them from the glare, dry cleaning gets hung up around the car, and sometimes the trunk gets loaded to capacity. There are plenty of occasions when there’s not much you can do about limited visibility. In those cases, adjust your mirrors to the best of your ability and practice your defensive driving skills. In all other instances, simply be smart about where you stow everything. You can easily purchase a hanger that wraps around the front seat’s headrest, allowing your clothes to hang wrinkle-free without blocking your view. When stacking things in the rear, keep the middle free of stuff so you can see out the back. A little maneuvering goes a long way to making your ride a safer one.