Blind Spots and the Solutions

Simply put, a blind spot is wherever a vehicle operator cannot see around his/her vehicle because there is no coverage through a window or mirror. Typically a driver’s blind spot will be towards the rear end of the automobile on both sides.

Blinds spots are a hazard that drivers must contend with every time they get behind the wheel. These visual impairments pose a threat to drivers, their passengers, and other motorists; they can also cause severe or fatal injuries to bicyclists, pedestrians, and other Vulnerable Road Users (VRU).

Where blind spot incidents occur

Blind spot incidents most often occur when vehicles traveling in adjacent lanes of the roadway fall into the blind spots – since they are not visible in the rear and side-view mirrors. Unfortunately, all blind spots cannot be eliminated by mirrors. We can use several techniques to eliminate these blind spots, yet it is often found that individuals will bypass these steps, which can, unfortunately, result in a collision.

Solving blind spots across industries

In the early 2000s, incident rates were incredibly high because drivers were making decisions due to blind spot errors.

When adjusting mirrors and turning heads didn’t do the trick for accurately checking blind spots, the automotive industry took the first step and turned to blind spot detection systems. In 2004, Volvo introduced the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) to the automotive industry, after realizing how dangerous it can be for drivers unable to identify objects in their blind spots.

As for the heavy-duty industries, blind spots continue to be the most significant cause of collisions. In a recent PRECO survey of waste management employers and employees, 93 percent found that downtime due to struck-by blind zone incidents significantly affects worksite productivity. In other significant industries, such as trucking, utilities, mining, and construction blind spots are just as prevalent and see identical impacts.

For the on and off-road industries operating heavy-duty mobile equipment, blind spots are a little more challenging to identify and monitor. The equipment often operates within rugged, harsh environments where machines move in and out, vibrating and moving at a much more intense rate and range than run-of-the-mill automobiles.

The solution to heavy-duty mobile equipment blind spots:

According to a PRECO survey, professionals across the heavy-duty industries have indicated various safety technologies and measures to prevent blind spot incidents:

  • 91 percent of respondents use mirrors
  • 6 percent use forward-collision warning
  • 80 percent use cameras and monitors
  • 33 percent use object detection sensors
  • 64 percent use spotters

The key to blind spot detection systems is these are solutions are built to mitigate preventable incidents. And two of the most common standards — spotters and mirrors — are hindered by equipment blind spots.

The technology and solutions that fight blind spots and the integration of these solutions:

The best of class blind spot detection systems are built to be rugged and sturdy to withstand all-weather, terrains, and temperatures. Unlike other solutions, blind spot monitoring technology is operational day and night, thanks to audible and visual alerts (i.e., active and passive).

  • Active: A system that does not require the operator/driver to monitor the system – i.e., audible and LED warnings “actively” tell the operator objects are in the blind spot
  • Passive: Requires the operator/driver to monitor the system – i.e., drivers look to standard camera monitor systems for information, but if they aren’t looking at the monitor they won’t know if an object is in the blind spot

By integrating active and passive safety solutions, operators achieve the best of both worlds. To provide blind spot object detection solutions with both audible and visual alerts to actively notify operators of potential collisions in their path, look to radar and vision fusion. This integration of solutions means that regardless of where the operator’s attention is directed if an object or person is in the vehicle’s blind spot, the system will alert the operator and allow them time to react before any potential collision occurs.

Choose the active blind spot solution best suited for your fleet.

When choosing the most robust blind spot solution for a fleet, purpose-built is always better. For fleets, purpose-built solutions are making headway, because technologies not distinctly designed for them aren’t as reliable or accurate – which is because not all active technologies are created equal. When a solution is purpose-built, it tackles industry and user-specific issues, allowing fleets to mitigate incidents with the best proactive solution possible, personalized for them.

Take PreView Side Defender®II for example: 

  • Designed as a side blind spot assistance system for on-road fleets, Side Defender®II incorporates vehicle speed as a component to ignoring stationary objects by differentiating between moving and non-moving objects. Side Defender®II was purpose-built as an active blind spot solution for fleets operating in crowded urban environments. Alerting only when vulnerable road users (VRU) and other moving objects are detected in the driver’s side blind spot minimizes nuisance alerts and mitigates incidents.

Then there is the PreView Sentry

  • Engineered as a rear blind spot solution, Sentry alerts drivers of objects behind their mobile equipment (audibly and visually) within the predetermined detection zone(s). Sentry’s technology is rugged and advanced, built to protect and outlast.

Like some ultrasonic and other blind spot and safety systems brought over from the automotive space, other similar solutions have proven to alert the driver to objects far outside of the predetermined detection zone or to everything, causing quite a nuisance for the driver.  

When looking to adopt systems that minimize blind spots and mitigate incidents, an active solution that is accurate and reliable is essential. To make sure the right solution is chosen for your mobile equipment’s blind spot application needs, always seek professional guidance.