Modern vehicle design has improved the safety of cars for drivers and passengers remarkably in recent years
Perth, Western Australia (PRWEB) April 17, 2009
Drivers could be encountering dangerous blind spots in many new cars, according to visibility testing by car & motor insurance provider SGIO.
The insurer today launched its Car Blind Spot Ratings to help demonstrate how some car designs can reduce visibility for drivers, especially at intersections, roundabouts and pedestrian crossings.
The testing involved rotating a laser 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 each blocked the laser. The insurer tested 138 new vehicles.
The WA car insurance provider revealed more than 80 per cent of cars tested only score one or two stars with popular cars like the Holden Commodore (one star) and Toyota Yaris (one star) among them.
SGIO Head of Research Robert McDonald acknowledged manufacturers faced a difficult design challenge in combining safety with visibility.
"Modern vehicle design has improved the safety of cars for drivers and passengers remarkably in recent years," said Mr McDonald. "But manufacturers may need to help drivers on the road by striking a better balance between crash safety and visibility.
"It is a concern that in some cars a pedestrian or cyclist can be lost in a blind spot from as close as nine metres and a driver can lose sight of another vehicle from about 20 metres.
"Hopefully, manufacturers can consider these types of scores and statistics in vehicle design and strike a more suitable balance between vehicle safety, ergonomics and visibility."
Mr McDonald said only 14 cars had struck the right balance - performing well in both the Car Blind Spot Ratings and scoring well in the frontal crash testing of the Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP). He singled out the Citroen C4 Picasso and Volkswagen Golf (V), with both topping the Car Blind Spot Ratings with four stars but also scoring well with ANCAP.
"While blind spots can have an influence on the volume of collisions, particularly at intersections, the last thing we want to see is cars that have good visibility but are dangerous in a serious crash."
Mr McDonald also said it was encouraging almost three out of four WA drivers (71%) surveyed were aware of blind spots on their own car, as all drivers can compensate for poor vehicle visibility.
"When drivers approach intersections - particularly roundabouts - it is very easy to lose sight of a car as you give way," explained Mr McDonald. "Drivers - should always be aware of the blind spots on their cars and be prepared to move their head to look around them when necessary.
"We would also encourage consumers to consider all aspects of vehicle safety - including visibility - when purchasing a vehicle."
To see the full results of the SGIO Car Blind Spot Ratings, visit http://www.sgio.com.au.
SGIO is a leading insurance provider offering comprehensive car insurance online for consumers.
Insurance Australia Limited ABN 11 000 016 722 trading as SGIO.
For many insurance products a Product Disclosure Statement is available from SGIO which you should consider before making decisions about those products.
Insurance issued by Insurance Australia Limited trading as SGIO 46 Colin St, West Perth, Western Australia 6005 . sgio.com.au
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