SGIC Issues Warning of Hidden Hazards at the Wheel

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Visibility testing highlights potentially dangerous blind spots 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 motor insurance provider SGIC. 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.

The car insurance provider 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 SGIC Car Blind Spot Ratings will be launched today to help demonstrate how some car designs can reduce visibility for drivers, especially at intersections, roundabouts and pedestrian crossings.

SGIC State Manager Lee Jameson 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," she 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," Jameson continued.

Ms Jameson said only 14 of the cars tested had performed well in both the SGIC Car Blind Spot Ratings and the frontal crash tests for the Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP). She 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," she said.

Ms Jameson said it was encouraging more than 80 per cent of South Australian 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," she 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 SGIC Car Blind Spot Ratings, visit

*Based on research commissioned by SGIC in February 2009.

About SGIC
SGIC is a South Australian provider of home insurance, car insurance, motor insurance and more.


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