All About Blind Spot Monitors

At Waterdown Collision, we’re the experts at repairing vehicles that have been involved in accidents.  Sometimes these accidents are from nature, like hailstorms or fallen branches.  Other times, they are caused from things you’ve done a thousand times like lane changes, or merging with traffic on the highway.  Fortunately, cars these days are getting smarter and many new cars now come equipped with something called a blind spot monitor.

If you took driver’s ed, you may remember your driving instructor telling you to look over your shoulder before changing lanes. That’s because every car has a blind spot or an area that you cannot see with your mirrors or with your peripheral vision. Have you ever noticed a car swing out from behind you and pass you? There is a moment when that vehicle seems to “disappear” completely. This is the moment when your car enters your blind spot. Sadly, far too many highway accidents occur when drivers wrongly assume it is safe to change lanes only to be hit by a vehicle that was in their blind spot.


senior couple in car

How Blind Spot Monitors Work

Blind spot monitors consist of sensors located under your side view mirror or rear bumper that detect vehicles in your blind spot.  When a vehicle enters your blind spot, it activates the sensors and a warning light appears either on your mirror or on the A pillar. Some systems even give an audible beep or other type of warning as well if you use your turn signal while something is in your blind spot.

Blind spot monitors may or may not include a side view camera that shows you exactly what’s in your blind spot.

Using a blind spot monitor can help you avoid accidents by keeping you aware of your surroundings while driving on highways. They turn on as soon as you start your car and serve as a useful reminder to stay alert at all times.

Limitations of Blind Spot Monitors

As smart as this technology is, you shouldn’t rely on it completely. These monitors can fail to work if the sensors become clogged by dirt, snow or fog. They may also fail to pick up smaller vehicles like motorcycles or bicycles and may not work with vehicles that are travelling very fast or very slowly.

It is also important to remember that these sensors were designed to operate at full efficiency at highway speeds – so don’t count on them to be as reliable when you are driving through the city or looking for a place to park at the mall during the holiday rush.

Since these monitors don’t work 100% of the time, it’s best to remember your driving instructor’s advice. Check your mirrors and look over your shoulder before changing lanes. It’s great that cars today are coming out with advanced safety features that can help drivers avoid accidents. The important thing is not become so reliant on the technology, that it actually causes an accident.  So embrace the technology but never abandon your own safety habits.