Technology has made a host of car safety devices and features readily available to vehicle owners, whether they are built in or require installation. One of these is blind spot monitoring, or BSM (a.k.a., blind-spot warning, blind-spot detection, blind-spot information system, etc.). Driving with BSM helps save lives and dollars by providing visibility in your vehicle’s blind spots.
What are blind spots?
In car talk, blind spots are areas/zones on either side of your vehicle that you cannot see in your rearview or side-view mirrors. All drivers should be conscious of their blind spots and always make sure to turn their head and check for cars, motorcycles, or bikes before changing lanes.
What is blind spot monitoring, and how does it work?
Blind spot monitoring is an advanced driver assistance system (ADAS). ADAS are a group of electronic technologies designed to assist drivers in driving and parking functions.
The main function of BSM is to keep you from colliding into the vehicle that is moving in the same direction in an adjacent lane, which is likely to have stayed out of the frame of your side-view mirrors.
To do this, the BSM technology uses a set of sensors mounted on the side-view mirrors or the rear bumper to detect the vehicles. When there is a vehicle in your blind spot, you will be alerted through an audible and/or visual alert. If your turn signal is activated, you may get an additional warning when it is unsafe to change lanes or merge. In some vehicles, a camera is either the main part of the system or serves as a complement to the sensors.
Recent upgrades to standard blind spot monitoring include detection extending to trailer and autonomous steering.
The trailer detection feature detects vehicles next to your trailer. In the Ford F-150, the sensors are mounted inside the taillight clusters, extending the system’s line of sight to cover whatever is hooked up on the truck.
The autonomous steering feature can manipulate steering and brakes to keep you from changing lanes when there’s a vehicle next to you, preventing a collision.
What are the benefits of blind spot monitoring?
Blind spot monitoring is an excellent safety tool. But not only does it keep you and other drivers on the road safe and help save lives, it also saves you money by sparing you from spending money on costly repairs, which also makes it a lifesaver in a different sense.
While you would automatically turn your head and generally be mindful when you need to change lanes, a blind spot monitoring system gives you that sense of security and confidence, which helps takes the stress out of driving—especially if your vehicle has larger blind spots (e.g., an SUV).
How do you get blind spot monitoring?
BSM is widely available, but generally does not come part of the package for certain models. If the vehicle you’re getting does not include blind spot monitoring, you will have to shell out the extra cash to have it added. Should you? If you have a large blind spot, definitely. Otherwise, you will just have to commit to being as careful as you should be on the road, especially when changing lanes or merging.
Invest in features that keep you safe and your repair costs down.
For great savings in maintenance and repair, get an EverCare Protection vehicle service contract to take the place of your manufacturer’s warranty once it runs out.