Blind Spots at T-junctions

When we talk about a car’s blind spots, we’re usually referring to the areas around the vehicle that cannot be seen in the mirrors. But any part of the car that obscures our view is a blind spot.

Certain areas around the vehicle have blind spots due to the vehicle’s A, B and C pillars. Put simply, these pillars connect the roof to the rest of the car and provide structural integrity to the vehicle.

Diagram of a car's A, B and C pillars
A typical car’s A, B and C pillars

A typical car will have what’s called A, B and C pillars. Longer estate cars may also have an additional D pillar. The size of the pillars depends on the vehicle and in general, the thicker the pillars, the bigger the blind spot they create.

Vehicle safety and emissions regulations have seen modern cars come with smaller windows, taller door frames and wider pillars. Whilst this improves survivability in collisions and also helps to improve aerodynamics (lower fuel consumption / reduced emissions), it hinders our ability to see what’s going on outside the vehicle.

Improved sensor technology helps to alert us of impending or actual hazards and in certain situations, safety technology may even brake the vehicle for us. But we can’t take this safety tech for granted and we still need to take effective observations.

Blind spots at junctions caused by the car's A pillars either side of the windscreen
Blind spots at junctions caused by the car’s A pillars either side of the windscreen

Your car’s ‘A’ pillars located each side of the windscreen can cause blind spots at junctions. It may not seem as though too much of the road is obscured by the A pillars, but if you’re too quick to exit a junction without properly checking the road is clear, you may not notice a cyclist, a motorcyclist or even a pedestrian crossing the road due to them being obscured by an A pillar.

It’s best practice to approach a T-junction at an appropriate speed that allows for all-round effective observation. For allowing enough time to look both left and right at least twice before emerging and to move your head forward to look around the A pillar blind spots.

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