When you drive, you share the road with thousands of others. Every driver on the road owes you a duty to drive responsibly. If that does not happen, you may sustain a serious injury in a catastrophic motor vehicle accident. Regrettably, an overlooked blind spot may put your life in danger.

Blind spots are spaces around a vehicle the driver cannot see with the assistance of rear-view or side mirrors. These areas may vary considerably from vehicle to vehicle. Accordingly, even though you likely studied blind spots before you took your driver’s test, it is a good idea to refresh your knowledge of them.

Find your car’s blind spots

The first step in avoiding a sideswipe or another type of blind spot accident is to find your car’s blind spots. To do so, sit in the driver’s seat and adjust your mirrors. Then, carefully note the areas around your vehicle you cannot see. While blind spots typically occur between the side mirror and the rear of the vehicle, they may be other places as well.

Look before changing lanes

While your car’s mirrors are invaluable tools for avoiding a serious collision, you cannot rely on them alone. Rather, you must look over your shoulder before changing lanes. This quick glance allows you to see objects in your blind spots.

Upgrade your vehicle

If your vehicle has large blind spots, you may want to add some aftermarket upgrades. A stick-on supplemental mirror may shrink your vehicle’s blind spots considerably. Alternatively, if your vehicle does not already have one, you may want to invest in an aftermarket collision-avoidance system. These systems sound an alarm if an object is in your blind spot.

Remain alert

Because of their comparatively small sizes, motorcycles and bicycles can easily disappear in blind spots that do not hide larger vehicles. Therefore, when driving during the summer months, you should exercise additional care.

Practice defensive driving, and do your best to stay out of others’ blind spots, as well. There is no guarantee that the motorists around you will check before changing lanes or turning. By remaining alert, you increase your odds of avoiding a serious collision.