Have you ever tried switching lanes on the highway, and you realized at the last minute that there was a vehicle in your blind spot? Hopefully, you noticed in time to avoid a collision. If not, you were likely involved in a serious, or at the very least, scary, crash. Blind spots are areas where the driver is not able to see, and therefore may miss vehicles or other potential obstacles that are trying to pass by.
Thankfully, automobile manufacturers have come up with a system to help avoid this all too common danger. It is called blind spot monitoring. The vehicle will "monitor" the areas where the driver's vision is impaired and respond with either an audible or visible alarm. The goal is to notify the driver of the obstacle before a collision takes place. The alarms will usually go off when the turn signal is used or when the driver appears to be changing lanes or "lane drifting."
As time passes, more and more vehicles will have blind spot monitoring as a standard option. Strategy Analytics estimates that by 2012, over four million vehicles will have the monitoring devices. This number may grow higher as consumers seek safer cars, and manufacturers seek to produce safer cars.
It should also be noted that while blind spot monitoring technology is a great new safety feature, it does not replace careful driving habits. Drivers will still need to use their mirrors, look over their shoulders, and keep up with the traffic around them. The responsibility cannot rest solely on the backs of automobile manufacturers. There may be legal ramifications if a monitoring system malfunctions and a crash occurs. However, the responsibility is ultimately with the driver. The system is meant to assist with the true blind spots, but ultimately it is in the drivers hands on how to respond. Blind spot monitoring is a safety feature that is innovative and practical. Though it does not replace defensive driving, the feature is likely to ward off many crashes and potentially save many lives.