Blind spot awareness ‘must improve’

Drivers must remember to always check the blind spots of their vehicle before carrying out a manoeuvre.

 At-work drivers are among the most likely individuals to be regularly taking to the roads in the UK and as a result, this group needs to take its responsibilities in terms of road safety extremely seriously.

With this in mind, road safety charity Brake has published a new report that aims to provide key advice on the importance of drivers regularly checking their vehicle’s blind spots – as failure to do so can result in serious and life-changing injuries for vulnerable road users.

Meanwhile, at-work crashes cost UK employers approximately £2.7 billion a year, so it is in everyone’s best interests for drivers to always have their wits about them.

Figures published by the Department for Transport show that during 2012, a total of 866 cyclists, pedestrians and motorcycle riders were killed on the UK’s roads, while a further 13,781 were seriously injured.

These groups of vulnerable road users were shown to account for 60 per cent of all fatalities and serious injuries reported that year, with more than 40 lives lost or dramatically changed due to crashes every day.

As a result, Brake’s new guide is focused on reducing these figures and aims to educate all drivers on not only the different types of blind spot they need to be aware of, but also the array of technologies that are now available to help motorists gain a 360-degree awareness of what is taking place around their vehicle.

Laura Woods, research and information officer at Brake, said: “Employers and drivers have a key role to play in making our streets safer for walking and cycling and preventing tragedies. Addressing and managing the risks caused by blind spots, and ensuring drivers are manoeuvring with the utmost care, is essential.

“This report sets out vital steps managers should take – whatever types of vehicles they run – to minimise blind spots and ensure drivers know how they can best protect vulnerable road users.”

Meanwhile, UK & Ireland general insurance chief executive officer at Aviva Maurice Tulloch added: “We take the protection of vulnerable road users seriously, which is why it is a priority on our motor risk management agenda and we believe that raising awareness is key to addressing the growing issues we are witnessing on the UK’s roads.”

Brake’s report reveals all motorists must remember that blind spots can shift depending upon the manoeuvre being carried out, so it offers a helpful breakdown on where to focus while carrying out a range of moves.

Reversing – blind spot is immediately behind the vehicle.

Turning at junctions – located behind A-pillars at each side of the windscreen and in the rear.

Pulling away at a crossing – immediately ahead of the vehicle.

Changing lanes or overtaking – behind A-pillars again and to the rear of the driver, as well as in the rear window for cars and immediately behind for larger vehicles.

Understanding that individuals need to shift their focus to each of these areas when performing different tasks is often half the battle, but alertness is also is key to reduce accident numbers and boost road safety across the board.

With this in mind, the organisation has also published an array of helpful tips on when drivers should be more aware to the dangers they pose to vulnerable road users.

These situations include when reversing into parking spaces, when overtaking other vehicles or passing cyclists, when pulling up at the side of the road – beware of cyclists when opening the door – and also when taking avoiding action due to potholes or other hazards in the road.

It is also essential for drivers to be fully aware of what is going on around their vehicle even when they are stationary in traffic. It is at these times that individuals can let their concentration wander, but doing so could mean they miss that motorcyclist that is making their way through the stand-still traffic next to them, resulting in a potentially life-threatening accident.

 

Blind spot awareness ‘must improve’

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