Detroit: For most drivers there’s a lingering doubt when changing lanes: Did I miss a car in the blind spot?
Starting early next year, Ford Motor Co will try to eliminate that doubt. It will begin installing side-view mirrors on its vehicles that show the blind spots in the outside upper corners.
The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker and several industry analysts say they know of no other automaker that currently offers such a feature, although some are considering it and auto parts stores sell small mirrors that focus on blind spots.
“Those blind spots, changing lanes, we’re always having some challenges seeing who’s there,” said Jim Buczkowski, Ford’s global director of electrical and electronic systems.
Ford says it will put the mirrors on a few Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models to start, eventually making them standard across most of its lineup. It also will offer an optional radar-based blind spot warning system similar to those marketed by other automakers, but with the ability to scan parking lot aisles and warn of oncoming vehicles as a driver backs out of a space.
The additions come from research Ford did on customer wants and needs and is part of its campaign to be more customer focused, said spokesman Alan Hall. The new low-cost mirrors probably won’t add to the sticker price of a car or truck, he said.
Of 450 people who took part in Ford driving clinics, 76% thought the mirrors improved visibility, Buczkowski said.
Ford had to figure out a way to meet a federal standard requiring driver’s side mirrors to be flat, said spokesman Wes Sherwood.