All motorists have blind spots – and no, I’m not talking about the fact that you really don’t sing like Adele. I mean the areas of the road that you can’t see when you’re driving around Des Moines.
First let’s talk about our own blinds spots, and then we can talk about others…
To begin, we can greatly reduce blind spots by properly adjusting our mirrors to give the widest coverage possible. Make the adjustments in your sedan before you start to drive.
First, drivers should adjust their rear view mirrors to give the best possible view directly to the rear of their sedan. Des Moines folks don’t need it to get a better view of either side of the car, the kids in the back seat or their dazzling smile. It’s pretty simple, the rear view mirror should reflect the rear.
Next, lean your head until it almost touches the driver’s side window. Adjust your side mirror so that you can just barely see the side of your car. Now, lean your head to the middle of the car and adjust the outside mirror so that you can barely see the right side of the car.
When Urbandale motorists adjust their mirrors this way, they’ll have maximum coverage. Of course driving is a dynamic process – things change every second on Des Moines roads and busy expressways. So it’s wise to take a quick look to the side when passing to make sure that another sedan hasn’t moved into an area you couldn’t see in your mirrors.
Depending on the kind of vehicle you drive (sedan?), you may still have some blind spots. All vehicles have an area behind them that’s blind when backing up. The bigger the vehicle, the bigger the blind spot. A pick-up or SUV can hide a small child – an RV, bus or tractor-trailer can hide an entire vehicle. So be careful out there on our Des Moines streets and in your driveway at your Ankeny home!
As you drive around the Des Moines area, avoid staying in other motorists’ blind spots. You can’t count on them to be watching their mirrors and looking out for you.
Let’s talk about safely sharing our Iowa roads with heavy trucks and buses. In crashes involving a truck and car, the driver of the car is to blame for about 40 percent of the accidents. But 78 percent of the fatalities are with the car. The laws of physics are against the smaller vehicle, so it is essential for Ankeny drivers to take extra precautions around trucks and buses.
Heavy vehicles have huge blind spots: to the rear, on both sides and up front. They also can’t maneuver like a car. They take twice as long to stop and need twice as much space as you do in your sedan or other type of car. You need to keep wide margins when driving around one of these big rigs on Des Moines area freeways.
Here are some tips for passing a heavy vehicle in the Des Moines area:
Avoid the blind spots. If you can’t see the Ankeny car owners’s face in one of his mirrors or in a window, he cannot see you!
Don’t follow too close. If you can’t see one of the truck’s mirrors, you’re too close.
Make sure there is plenty of room to pass. Trucks are long and take time to get around. If you’re on one of our local Ankeny, Iowa two-lane highways, wait for a passing zone.
Don’t linger when passing. Because the blind spots are so big on the sides, you want to get through them quickly. If you can’t pass quickly, drop back.
Pass on the left whenever possible. A trucks’ blind spot is much larger on the right.
Be attentive and wear your seat belt while driving anywhere around Ankeny, even for short drives. Don’t be aggressive when driving around trucks. Because of their size, they appear to be going slower than they really are. Cutting it short around a truck could be disastrous.
Use your turn signals when starting to pass. Once you can see the full truck in your rear view mirror, it’s safe to signal and move over. It’s essential not to cut it short or slow quickly when you pull in front of a truck.
Be careful passing a truck at an intersection in Ankeny. Trucks need to turn wide to maneuver through Ankeny streets. Squeezing between a truck and the curb could put your car in your Ankeny body shop or All Pro Servicenter. Look for the truck’s turn signals.
The team of automotive professionals at All Pro Servicenter want you to watch those blind spots – but feel free to sing in the shower all you want.
All Pro Servicenter
We’re on 113 East 1st. Street in Ankeny, Iowa (50021)
Call us to make an appointment at 515-964-0641.