A Guide to Understanding Blind Spots When Delivering
Knowing your blind spots when delivering can help you stay safe on the road. This quick guide has you covered.
Stay safe and keep your focus on the road, not on planning your routes. Circuit Route Planner plans your delivery stops for you.
If you work as a delivery driver, a car crash is pretty much your biggest nightmare.
An accident not only slows you down — but it can also hurt you or the people around you.
Even worse, you might be held legally liable if you are at fault for an accident, and no one wants to go to jail.
An expensive lawsuit on top of it all? Nope, you don’t want none of that.
A common cause of collisions? Blind spots.
Facts: Not checking blind spots causes more than 800,000 accidents every year (including about 300 fatalities).
A blind spot is basically an area around the vehicle where you — the driver — can not see other people, vehicles, or objects in your side view mirrors or rear view mirrors.
Blind spots are really common for larger vehicles like trucks. Research shows that some trucks have blind spots up to 1.9 meters (6.2 feet)!
But regardless of what you are driving, it is important to be aware of blind spots.
Below, I talk about common blind spots for delivery vehicles and give some tips on how to minimize the risk of blind spot-related accidents while making deliveries.
What are the blind spots of a delivery vehicle?
Want to reduce the risks that come with blind spots (also known as “no zones”)? Know exactly where your blind spots are.
Here is a quick guide to help you train your senses and save your life.
Directly in front of the truck
The front of the vehicle is one BIG blind spot.
Big rig trucks — especially those that don’t have a cab-over design (where the driver cabin sits over the engine) — have super big blind spots.
The driver can only see the “nose” of the truck and not what is right in front of it.
This can make you likely to hit smaller cars, objects, and people right in front of the vehicle.
Front blind spots may cause rear-end accidents.
Be especially aware of front blind spots when going forward while parking or pulling out of parking spaces. If necessary, get out of the car and check to make sure there is nothing in front of you first.
Directly behind the truck
The back of the delivery vehicle is another blind spot.
Make sure you are not only checking your rear view mirror but also swiveling your head to physically look over your shoulder to avoid bumping people, pets, mailboxes, or cars when going backward.
It can also be helpful to have a vehicle with a backup sensor that beeps when you get too close to an object.
Some vehicles also have cameras on the back that can improve your range of sight.
Along the left side of the truck
The left side of a truck can also have a blind spot, running parallel along the length of the vehicle’s body.
The wider and longer the truck, the larger the blind spot.
Swiveling your head to look for objects on the side of the vehicle — instead of solely relying on side view mirrors — can be helpful.
Also, make sure to always use turn signals, for example, when pulling into or out of parking spaces or switching lanes on the road.
Along the right side of the truck
The right side of the truck is also a big blind spot area that runs along the length of the truck.
Again, make sure to swivel your head (look over your shoulder) to identify blind spots — and use your damn side view mirrors!
It is also important to use turn signals so motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists know where your vehicle is headed — and to stay out of your way.
How can you mitigate blind spot-related accidents?
The first step to avoiding blind spot-related accidents is to know your truck’s blind spots.
If you have read the above section, you can already check that point off your to-do list!
But there are a few additional tips you can take to minimize the risk of blind spot-related accidents. Here are a few best practices to keep in mind.
- Adjust your mirrors: Every time you start a shift, adjust your mirrors based on your height and driving position. Your rear view mirror should be set to give you the broadest view behind your car. To adjust the driver side view mirror, lean your head against your driver side window and adjust the mirror until you can see the vehicle’s side. When you return to your normal driving position, you should not be able to see the car’s bodywork in the mirror. To adjust the passenger side mirror, lean toward the passenger seat so that your head is centered in the car and adjust in the same manner.
- Swivel your head: Your mirrors only take you so far. When driving, you should also look over your shoulder. This helps minimize blind spots to the left and right. If you can not see a vehicle driver in the side view mirror, you should still be able to see it through the driver or passenger vehicle side window when you look over your shoulder. Make sure to look over your shoulder only quickly — the last thing you want is to neglect the road in front of you.
- Use your turn signals and wait: Certain moves on the road are pretty risky when it comes to blind spots. You can help minimize risk by using turn signals and waiting. For example, if you want to change lanes, signal first and then wait a moment to make sure others can get out of the way. The same is true when you pull out of a parking spot. That said, you should still check your mirrors and swivel your head.
- Embrace technology: Newer vehicles have sensor technology that can help reduce blind spots. There are also cameras that can show you areas that your mirrors just do not cover. Check out our post on how to buy the best delivery vehicles for work.
- Keep an eye out for vulnerable road users: Certain road users are more vulnerable to blind spots because they are smaller and harder to see in general. This includes cyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. If you see a vulnerable road user, slow down and make sure to take the above precautions.
Blind spot tips specifically for delivery drivers
There are a few other things people who work as delivery drivers specifically can do to avoid those annoying blind spots.
First, keep your car clean. If you can write “Wash Me” in the dust on it, it’s time for a rinse! Dirty windshields make it hard to see the road.
Keep your vehicle clean and organized on the inside too. Packages piled high can block your view, for example.
Be aware of situations delivery drivers face that can worsen blind spots. For example, you probably have to steer down tight streets or squeeze into small parking spaces.
When you are facing these challenges, follow the initiatives above, like swiveling your head and using your turn signals.
Pro tip: There are defensive driving courses that teach delivery truck drivers about blind spots.
Check out the Association For Delivery Drivers (A4DD), which offers safety assessments and training.
Real talk: Even if you take these precautions, accidents can happen when you are delivery driving.
Make sure you have good insurance. Here are some options.
Let Circuit focus on route optimization while you focus on the road
Blind spots are just one of the many hazards you might have to deal with as a delivery driver or courier. Learn more about some common risks of the road (and how to avoid them) with this handy guide.
As a delivery driver, you want to do all you can to stay safe on the road. But you also want to get your work done quickly.
The faster you finish your delivery stops, the sooner you can get home and kick back on the couch.
Plus, if you get paid based on delivery blocks — for example, as an Amazon Flex driver — faster deliveries mean you can work more and earn more.
You do not need to break the speed limit to make deliveries fast.
Circuit Route Planner lets you make your deliveries faster by mapping out the quickest sequence of stops for your delivery routes.
Circuit integrates with tools like Google Maps to create routes, taking into account everything from traffic patterns to traffic jams.
Plus, Circuit has other perks to make your delivery driving job easier, like a package finder, proof of delivery, and customer notifications.