NRMA Warns Queensland Drivers Beware of Hidden Hazards

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NRMA Insurance Queensland launches Car Blind Spot Ratings for drivers which tests blind spot visibility in new cars.

Modern design has significantly improved crash safety for drivers and passengers in recent years

Drivers could be encountering dangerous blind spots in many new cars, according to visibility testing by car insurance provider NRMA Insurance.

The NRMA Insurance Car Blind Spot Ratings were launched to help demonstrate how some car designs can reduce visibility for drivers, especially at intersections, roundabouts and pedestrian crossings.

The insurer revealed more than 80 per cent of the 138 new cars tested scored only one or two stars, including popular cars such as the Holden Commodore (one star) and Toyota Yaris sedan (one star).

The blind spot testing involved a laser rotating 180 degrees from the driver's seat to replicate a driver's vision.

The scores were calculated by taking into account the position of the windscreen pillars - where the windscreen meets the side window - and how much they blocked the laser.

car insurance provider NRMA Insurance Queensland State Manager Brett Robinson acknowledged manufacturers faced a difficult design challenge when combining crash safety with visibility.

"Modern design has significantly improved crash safety for drivers and passengers in recent years," he said.

"But manufacturers may need to help drivers on the road by striking a better balance between crash safety and visibility.

"In some new cars, a driver can lose sight of a pedestrian or cyclist from as close as nine metres and can lose sight of another car from about 20 metres."

Mr. Robinson said only 14 of the cars tested had performed well in both the NRMA Insurance Car Blind Spot Ratings and the frontal crash tests for the Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP). He singled out the Citroen C4 Picasso and Volkswagen Golf (V), which topped the blind spot ratings with four stars and scored well with ANCAP.

"While blind spots can be dangerous, the last thing we would want to see is cars that have good visibility but poor protection in a serious crash," he said.

Mr Robinson said it was encouraging more than 70 per cent of Queensland drivers were aware of blind spots on their own car so they could take steps to avoid a collision*.

"Drivers should always be aware of any blind spots on their cars and be prepared to look around them when necessary," he said.

"We would also encourage consumers to consider all safety aspects - including visibility - when shopping for a new car."

To see the full results of the NRMA Insurance Car Blind Spot Ratings, visit nrmaqld.com.au

  • Based on research commissioned by NRMA Insurance in February 2009.

About NRMA Insurance:
NRMA Insurance is a leading insurance provider in Queensland, Australia. NRMA Insurance offers online car insurance quotes, home contents insurance, motor insurance and more at competitive prices.

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