Road safety is a combination of obeying traffic laws, driver education, and vehicle design, particularly size. The size of a vehicle affects driver visibility, which is the most important thing when driving. Typically, the larger your vehicle, the more blind spots it has.
Blind spots are the areas of a vehicle out a driver’s line of sight when they’re driving. They pose risks of damage to the vehicle or, worse, inflicting harm to others, both pedestrians and fellow motorists alike. Those areas that drivers can’t see are a huge concern for buses due to their size and their use for public transportation.
While the responsibility falls largely on the bus drivers, other drivers on the road should also be aware of blind spots so they can avoid them. As mentioned earlier, driver education is also key to road safety. To further emphasize that point, read about the different dangers of bus blind spots here.
Bus design factors that limit visibility
Blind spots came to be due to how buses are designed. While there are different types of buses, their blind spots are almost exactly in the same areas.
However, they’re still sides that their drivers won’t see because of their design to fit other functions, i.e., carrying passengers and allotting space for cargo. Here are the three bus design factors that create blind spots:
Transit and school buses have a standard length of around 40 feet. This causes a blind spot because the side mirror can only capture approximately two-thirds of that length. Thus, 13 feet of the bus’ side is unseen by the driver. Besides that, there’s also an additional 30 feet next to the bus that they can’t see as well.
- Rearview mirror
A rearview mirror is a crucial part of any vehicle because it helps the driver see what’s behind them. Drivers must see the rear not just for driving but for parking as well. However, the rearview mirrors of buses aren’t large enough to see the cab’s entire length. Besides depth perception, visibility also becomes an issue for transit buses due to standing passengers.
The A-Pillar supports the bus’ windshield on the driver’s side and the side-view mirror. It’s well known to cause visibility problems that a technique for driving buses was created to counter it. It’s called “rock and roll,” where bus drivers rock back and forth before turning and changing lanes to check the area obscured by the a-pillar. It’s similar to commercial truck drivers needing someone to accompany them when driving, as advocated by numerous related businesses like Triangle Tires Philippines for safety.
Although bus drivers are trained to be aware of their surroundings, it’s still extremely difficult for them to have a 360-degree view of the road. So motorists and pedestrians should practice safety around them. Here are the different bus blind spots you should avoid:
Whenever you’re driving or crossing the street beside a bus, make sure that the driver can see you from the bus’ mirror. If you’re not, then you’re in the no-zone, and you won’t be visible to them due to the length preventing them from seeing down either side.
As mentioned above, some areas aren’t visible from the rearview and side mirrors, including a huge portion of the rear. So when driving behind a bus, it’s best to keep your distance. At least four car lengths of distance should be enough to avoid a collision when the bus brakes if the driver can’t see you.
A bus driver’s blind spot is significant because of the height of his seat. Therefore, the higher a bus driver’s sightline is, the lesser he sees in front of it when they drive. So when driving or walking in front of a bus, make sure that you have enough space so you’ll be within the drive’s sightline.
Bus drivers have difficulty seeing other cars or people when they make a turn. Sometimes they need to swing to the left to turn right. That’s why you need to make sure you know where they’re going to turn before driving or walking near their sides.
A bus’s blind spots are a concern not just for its driver but for others as well. Accidents may happen because of them, so it’s best for everyone to know where they are to avoid them. Stay safe while driving or walking the streets by being aware of these bus blind spots.