Save Our Teen Drivers

Advocating for driver's education changes. Educating the public on the problem. Finding a solution that saves lives.

Ford admits that costly blind spot system are pointless

Posted by lapearce on August 21, 2009

Volvo and Ford offers this. I think Mercedes does too. It drives me up the wall. In case you haven’t seen the ad it looks like this:

“Alex is about to collide with a motorcycle that is squarely in his blind spot…” but because his Volvo has the nifty Blind Spot Information System (BLIS because BSIS isn’t as catchy) system, he’ll be alerted to it and not kill the dumb motorcycle driver who is trying to pass him on the right when he has his turn blinker on. However, Alex wouldn’t need to rely on his fancy $700-$1,600 (cheaper on the Volvo than on a Ford believe it or not) dollar BLIS system  if he just adjusted his mirrors properly.

I can hear you getting mad already. But all cars have a blind spot, you are thinking. No, they don’t. In a New York Time’s interview Ford’s chief safety engineer, Steve Kozak, says that proper adjustment of the side mirrors illuminates blind spots. But adds, most drivers don’t adjust their mirrors that way so BLIS is a valuable safety aid.

Steve Kozak, Ford’s chief safety engineer, acknowledged that side mirrors can be set to eliminate the blind zone. But most drivers don’t adjust their mirrors that way so BLIS is a valuable safety aid, he said.

Que the head banging.

The problem starts when we are 15 1/2 and we are sitting in driver’s ed. And the instructor, who we all assume knows what he’s talking about because someone said he could  teach us all how to drive, teaches us SMOG: signal, mirror, over the shoulder, go, as the proper way to change lanes. Why look over your shoulder trusty driving instructor? One may ask. Why, he says, to check your blind spot. But why is there a blind spot trusty driving instructor? Because the DMV says so.

On page 12 of the handbook designed to help parents teach their teens how to drive in California it clearly says that to change lanes you need to “check your blind spot by looking over your shoulder” In the section on page 5 about preparing to drive it has one line about mirrors, and that is, “adjust the mirrors” but how? The DMV doesn’t say. The DMV doesn’t tell teens the proper way to adjust their mirrors so that they don’t have a blind spot, because the DMV in all its infinite wisdom doesn’t believe it is possible. All they’d have to do is adjust the mirrors as columnist Christopher Jensen explains in the article and see that the blind spot is gone. But that would probably mean getting a multi-million dollar grant to confirm. Gotta love bureaucracy.

Drivers think that blind spots exist because they were taught they exist when they were learning how to drive. Better information from licensing organizations would solve this problem.

Steve is right. There is no blind spot if the mirrors are properly adjusted. Ford (who owns Volvo in case you didn’t know) could have saved millions in research and development if instead of developing a camera that flashes a red light when ever a car is next to you instead they produced a small pamphlet on how to adjust the mirrors and distributed it to all their dealerships. The salespeople could be taught how to adjust mirrors and as they teach the buyer all the features of their new car help them adjust their mirrors. Problem solved for the cost of 2 minutes of a salesperson’s time.

Of course, if you still don’t believe me that blind spots are myths (I would love to come adjust your mirrors and prove you wrong and highly suggest you try the method mentioned in the article for yourself) I offer you the less expensive option to solve them. The two dollar blind spot mirror. Now go take that 700 you saved on your BLIS system and send it at on a quality driving school.

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