There were many incidents that I could have gotten into traffic accidents had I not done my due diligence to check my blind spots. That split second effort prevented much more efforts to recover from lost time, money and emotions spent if an accident occurred.
Some possible reasons why one may ignore doing a blind spot check before ‘re-positioning’ one’s vehicle:
- Had assumed no object (car, pedestrian, motorcycles, etc) was next to one’s vehicle.
- Thought that one had the right of way: e.g. had switched on the Right/Left signal indicator to turn or switch lanes; made the turn at the pedestrian crossing because the traffic signal was at the right colour (red for the pedestrian).
- Had done a blind spot check earlier and that it would remain clear prior to switching lane.
- That it was sufficient to check the side and rear mirrors and that it was clear.
I once drove out of a slip road and wanted to cut across several lanes to go to the fast lane. As I drove toward the end of the slip road that converged with the main road, I checked the side mirror and it was clear. Good thing I did a blind spot check and avoided an accident with an oncoming car! On another occasion, I wanted to overtake a vehicle and only checked my side mirror. I thought the lane to my right was clear. However, a car behind mine decided to overtake at the same time I was about to change lane. Somehow the habit of checking for blind spot kicked in and I was fortunate to avoid an accident.
Analogous to our interaction with others, there are also ‘blind spots’ that we need to be aware of, to avoid any ‘damage’ to others and/or to ourselves. These blind spots can be behavioural traits that one tends to exhibit unconsciously when under stress or in difficult situations. It can also be a subject that one finds difficult to understand as we may not be knowledgeable in all things all the time.
For instance, I am generally balanced between being frank and being diplomatic when conversing with others. However, when I am under stress, I tend to be less diplomatic, while still remaining very frank, i.e. I tend to be blunt. Hence, when I know I am getting stressed, and to avoid being blunt, I will be more conscious to check on the way I communicate. If I have to tell someone something, I will focus on how I say it. If someone is telling me something, then I will focus on the message and not be distracted by how it is delivered to me.
Hope we will continue to work on the habit of checking for our blind spots (while driving as well as in our life journey). As we are not perfect beings, we should not expect others to be perfect. While we have our strengths, we can leverage on it to work on our areas for improvement. May we be less judgemental and make peace with one another.