You’re driving on the highways just outside Orchard Park when you realize you need to change lanes to get off at the upcoming exit. You put your turn signal on, look at all your mirrors, but there’s something you’re forgetting. When you start to drift into the other lane, you hear a blaring horn and realize there was a car right next to you the whole time. This could have been avoided if you knew the one thing every driver should do when changing lanes.
Always make sure you look over your shoulder before changing lanes. While there’s a tendency to rely on our mirrors, even small cars are susceptible to blind spots. That’s because even multiple mirrors don’t give you a complete picture of what might be around your vehicle.
Because of how the mirrors are angled, your side-view mirror’s blind spots tend to be more prevalent on the passenger side. That means a vehicle near the trunk of your car on the right is much more likely to be in your blind spot. If you merge into another driver, you could side-swipe them or inadvertently cause a pit maneuver leading to a serious crash.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, about 1-in-10 car crashes occur when cars are changing lanes. If everyone did their part to double-check their blind spots before changing lanes, roughly 600,000 crashes could potentially be avoided each year.
The next time you put your turn signal on, whether you’re in town or on the highway, make sure you check your mirrors and look over your shoulder. It just might make the difference in avoiding a wreck.