As cars are becoming safer and stronger, drivers’ views are becoming more restricted, according to Which? Car.
Which? Car says that all-round visibility is generally worse than it was around 15 years ago, as car roof and door pillars have been strengthened and grown from barely noticeable strips to thick chunks of metal.
Vehicle blind spots account for around 1% of all accidents and RoSPA calculates that eliminating them would prevent around 25 fatal accidents each year.
In Which? Car’s tests of 160 cars it assessed during 2009, the Smart ForTwo Coupé comes out top for driver’s vision with a visibility score of 64.8%, aided by its lack of a B pillar (usually found between a car’s front and rear doors). The Fiat 500 (58.7%) is second and the Citroën C3 Picasso (58.2%) is third.
At the bottom of the list, convertibles such as the Porsche Boxster (31.4%), BMW Z4 (38.7%) and Lexus IS 250C (39.4%) rate poorly, though obviously their view improves considerably once the roof is down.
Richard Headland, Which? Car editor, says: "It’s vital to make sure a car protects its occupants in a crash, but accident research – and common sense – suggest that crashes are more likely if visibility is reduced. This is of particular concern for more vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.
"Some models that score well for visibility also achieve good crash-test results, showing it is perfectly possible to design safe cars with good visibility. Which? Car is calling on calls on manufacturers to do all they can to make life easier for drivers and we have drawn up a list of recommendations to make conditions safer."
Click here to read the full Which? Car news report.