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Vehicles' rear blind spots can block quite a lot from view

Most motorists in Pittsburgh know their vehicle has a rear blind spot, an area that blocks their view of what is behind them while driving. But they may not realize just how big their blind spot might be.

According to Consumer Reports, the length of a rear blind spot depends on factors like the size of the vehicle and the driver’s height. Smaller vehicles like sedans and hatchbacks will have a blind spot of 9-12 feet for a driver who is 5 feet 8 inches tall. But when the driver is 5 feet 1 inch, the blind spot dramatically increases to 15-24 feet.

As the vehicle type increases in size, so too does the blind spot. For those of average height, an SUV’s blind spot will be about 13-19 feet, and 15 feet in a minivan. A pickup truck blocks the largest view behind it, with a 24-foot blind spot, on average. For a short person, the blind spot in a pickup is 35 feet.

Part of this is due to the sheer size of larger SUVs and trucks. In addition, design trends have put in thicker pillars and shrunk the size of rear windshields. At the same time, new innovations like rear-view cameras can help, though the majority of cars and trucks on the road do not have this technology.

In March, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration issued a rule requiring backup cameras to be installed in all vehicles by May 2018. This should lead to a big reduction in backing-up accidents, but until then, pedestrians and motorists will continue to be vulnerable to drivers who do not take extra care while going in reverse.

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