Car Blind Spots: Are There 6, 8, or 12?

Updated on April 13, 2019
John MacNab profile image

John MacNab was a professional driving instructor (Approved Driving Instructor, ADI).

Is this a 10-blind spot car?
Is this a 10-blind spot car?

Do You Drive a 6-, 8-, or 12- Blind Spot Car?

Here's an extract from a driving instructor's manual that should clarify any queries about blind spots. Instructing a learner about blind spots is included in the initial ADI ‘cockpit drill.’

Although the following instructions are for the UK, blind spots are blind spots, no matter which side of the road you drive on. Simply convert the instructions to your country’s—and learner’s—point of view.

North American drivers will refer to the handbrake/parking brake as the ‘emergency brake’ because most cars are automatic, and handbrakes are not needed when stopped on a hill (in fact, most drivers will have forgotten the handbrake is there and its purpose).

Nearside’ refers to the side of the car nearest the kerb and ‘offside’ means the part of the car ‘off’ from the kerb; i.e., the driver’s side.

From the Driver's Instruction Manual

The driving instructor's manual begins:

…after driving the learner to an appropriate place and parking on a slight incline in order to explain the handbrake, change places with the learner…

It is important that the learner uses the controls as the instructor explains them.

….after teaching the learner how to use the handbrake, make sure he or she has ensured the doors are closed, show them how to adjust the seat, backrest and head restraint to the optimum position. Explain what should be visible and that all major controls must be usable without the learner’s back coming off the seat – the same thing applies when adjusting the interior mirror. Then begin the Blind Spot explanation…….

The "Blind Spot" Lesson

Instructor to Learner: Looking in the interior mirror, identify the nearest object you can see on the opposite side of the road. Now look over your right shoulder. From that object to where you are sitting is known as the BLIND SPOT. The blind spot will hide anything from a cyclist to a tractor trailer. If you pulled away from the side of the road and merely looked in your mirrors, you could either run someone down or drive out in front of another vehicle.

Instructor Notes: The easiest way to demonstrate the ‘blind spot’ is to ask the learner to keep looking in the interior mirror as a car approaches from the opposite direction. They will see the vehicle disappearing and re-appearing. If you have parked on a really wide road, you can do this exercise with an oncoming 38-tonner. It is quite dramatic and it certainly gets the message across.

Instructor to Learner: To check the blind spot, the driver must look OVER their right shoulder. Looking out of the side window does not constitute a blind spot check. The very last thing you do, before the car begins to move, is check the blind spot. Under no circumstances do you check over your LEFT shoulder last.

Instructor Notes: Learners love looking over their left shoulder. If they insist on doing so, make sure that they do it first and then look over their right shoulder before they move. On test, looking over their left shoulder last will fail their test (in the UK).

Instructor to Learner:

  • You must also check the blind spot before opening the driver’s door.
  • Be aware that every window or door pillar is a blind spot (see photo).
  • Your passenger’s head restraint is a blind spot (see photo).
  • Your passenger’s head is a blind spot.
  • The interior mirror and exterior mirrors are blind spots (see photo).
  • When it rains, that part of the windscreen not covered by the sweep of the wiper blades becomes a blind spot. (In Canada the rain would be snow and the result would be a complete blind spot, as in whiteout.)
  • Any blind spot can hide a pedestrian or cyclist.

Blind spot from door pillar and head restraint
Blind spot from door pillar and head restraint
Pillars that create blind spots
Pillars that create blind spots | Source

Exterior Mirrors

Instructor to Learner: The mirror nearest the edge of the road should be adjusted so that part of your own vehicle is visible in order to give you a reference point. If you have no reference point, you have no way of judging how far away the following vehicle is.

The same principle applies to the mirror on the driver’s side of the car; it should be adjusted so that a part of your own car is visible, and you can see all the way along the road behind you (see photo).

N.B. The interior mirror is manufactured from flat glass, which gives a true image of following vehicles. The exterior mirrors are manufactured from convex glass, which although giving you a wider view, give you a distorted view. All following vehicles seem to be further away than they really are. This distortion must always be kept in mind.

Instructor Notes: In real life, during the initial ‘move away’ part of the lesson, learners will forget everything you have said and will either stare out of the windscreen all the time or alternatively, be so scared of holding up following traffic, stare in the interior mirror all the time. If they are in the ‘staring in the mirror’ category, simply move the interior mirror so that they can’t see into it, and use your own interior mirror until they are ready for reality.

Assuming that your learner actually uses the exterior mirrors to begin with (you should be so lucky), you will soon know if they have adjusted them correctly. If they have adjusted either exterior mirror incorrectly, they will lean sideways until they can see the side of their own car in that particular mirror, the better to understand what they are looking at.

In later lessons, impress upon your learner that the mirrors will be used in a minimum of pairs, usually starting with the interior mirror. The mirrors are used before signalling, moving in, moving out, changing lanes, slowing down, braking, turning right or left or even before thinking. The Driving Standards Agency is very rigid in its interpretation of the use of mirrors. The examiner may allow the candidate some leeway on some faults, but every missed mirror check will be marked down as a ‘driver fault.’ Remember that ‘driver faults’ are cumulative. 16 driver faults will fail a driving test.

The mirror should show the side of the car and the road behind you.
The mirror should show the side of the car and the road behind you. | Source

To all of my readers, I hope you have found this article to be helpful. Safe driving!


The trainee manual I quote above was written by an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI); RAC Registered Instructor (RAC.RI); Institute of Advanced Motorists Instructor for Private and Commercial vehicles (IAM Instructor); Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, Class 1 Gold (RoSPA Class1).

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • John MacNab profile imageAUTHOR

      John MacNab 

      8 years ago from the banks of the St. Lawrence

      Thank you for your comment, Ipanfil. Most of us drive as if we're impaired. I drive with my brain disengaged.

    • lpanfil profile image


      8 years ago from Cleveland, Ohio

      I’m afraid I often drive like I’m blind. Interesting hub for those of us who are driving impaired.

    • John MacNab profile imageAUTHOR

      John MacNab 

      8 years ago from the banks of the St. Lawrence

      My pleasure, htodd.

    • htodd profile image


      8 years ago from United States

      Great hub,Thanks


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)