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Blind spots on modern cars, they seriously need to redesign the A-Pillars and rear turrets.
This applies not just to Volts, Nissan Leafs, but many many other new cars around these days.

I totally understand the need for increased stronger A Pillars and the air bags mounted in them for safety.
However there has to be better engineering using stronger steels and slimmer air bag modules for the pillars to slim down and allow more Visibility!

The amount of dam near misses since owning my Volt 2013 is mounting - compared to my 2001 old timer, speaking with other new non volt owners with similar pillar issues they are finding the same ... hidden cars and people behind the Driver side pillars.

So Far I have had last minute blinks of small cars hidden behind the Pillar and one where as I turned a Guy ran out across the road, perfectly hidden by the A pillar. Luckily I didn't accelerate quicker as he was 1 foot from the front wheel when I finally could see him. That gave me a dam good unexpected fright.

Crossing narrow median strip cross roads I have no visibility through the rear pillar and tinted window. Looking through the outside review mirror at night is a tough call to see if the particular lanes are free from traffic.

Nissan has a solution in the Leaf and other vehicles where they have a wide angle camera mounted at the rear that displays in the inside rear vision mirror which I think is a brilliant solution.

Until car manufactures start to slim down A pillars with better design we will have to move our heads sideways in attempts to see around the pillars for the unexpected.
The problem is for drivers who forget or don't know of this problem - can find they may need the protection of the safety pillars after they actual cause an accident due to limited vision.

Lets hope manufactures come up with better solutions.
 

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I've never had an issue personally. You adjust to a car after a week or so and you adapt.

Some vehicles have had worse visibility through the years. I drove a 1968 Corvette for a bit. panel van with ZERO side or rear windows? How on earth do people survive?....
 

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The Volt's blind spot detectors are very helpful. I find the Volt's visibility to be very good, it's certainly much much better than the Chrylser 300C that it replaced (it was like driving a submarine).
 

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They are working on a better solution, it's called auto-driving cars.
Humans SUCK at driving cars, our "sensors" are too limited.
 

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it took me about 2 months to fully adjust, its really just a question of habits, for the a-pillar problem, the habit is to approach all intersections more perpendicularly to the way you are headed, don't ever let either a-pillar block the area you are headed to or the traffic you are entering. The "THEY" you are referring to is not an entity. its hundreds of designers working around the world independently, and those individual are trying to respond to the car buying public's stated wishes..., stated economically of course
 

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I have had the same problem as Aus1 has with the A Pillar. I have seen moped riders and pedestrians move along and then just disappear behind the A Pillar, and worse yet, I have turned corners and had the A Pillar perfectly cover up a pedestrian or moped for several seconds. I have gotten in the habit of tilting my head to the side every time I hit an intersection.
I think my chances of running someone down are still relatively low, but unfortunately they are higher than they should be, due to the A Pillar blind spot.
 

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I agree with this. Driving on winding and curvy roads exacerbates this issue as well. I have noticed many times that while turning to the left in curves that a car might be completely hidden from my point of view until we pass each other. It scares the daylights out me when it happens. It takes a special setup with speeds, angles, and everything lining up just right, but I have never noticed this happening with any other car I have ever owned. What I have learned to do is to do a "lean up" in certain situations to make sure nothing is hidden by the A pillar. That A pillar is huge. I understand that large A pillar also protects me in a crash too so I have mixed feeling about this issue. I am an experienced driver, careful driver. I wonder how young drivers would adjust to this.
 

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I think that the more dramatically raked windshields in modern, more aerodynamic cars have to take a lot of the blame for the problem. And that's unlikely to change.

Left turns have always been problematic because as the car turns the blind spot behind the A pillar moves in the opposite direction, often at the same speed as pedestrians or slow moving traffic. So moving obstacles can become "invisible" because our brains assume that the absence of anything on either side of the moving blind spot implies the absence of anything in the middle.

This is something you have to be aware of as a driver. When I make left turns I've gotten into the habit of weaving my head from side to side in order to "see around" the A pillar as I go through the turn.

It's an issue for the "B" pillar in right turns too, but since that pillar is further from your head it covers a smaller angle of view and it's less likely for obstacles to be completely hidden.
 

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Thick structural elements (such as A pillars) are needed to meet current safety standards. Small pinhole cameras mounted on the outside with a (flexible?) screen on the inside can help prevent blind spots created by thick structural elements. The quality of the image does not have to be super high definition. Until such time, I have developed a sub-conscious habit of craning my neck around the pillars like a lizard whenever I encounter a curve/intersection.
 

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I think that the more dramatically raked windshields in modern, more aerodynamic cars have to take a lot of the blame for the problem. And that's unlikely to change.
Totally true. It'd be possible to mitigate with a more wrap-around windscreen, but that'll make the part-cost add hundreds if not thousands to the cost of the vehicle, and again anytime a windscreen needed replacing.
 

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I completely agree on the A pillar issue. I have scared myself a number of times.
In addition to looking around the A pillars I now also hesitate a moment before proceeding when entering a street or crossing a sidewalk.
This is one case where I also appreciate having an alert passenger.

All the safety, etc. features to the rear in DC 1 and 2 make backing up pretty easy and safe even though rear vision is very limited.
But the forward
 

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Blind spot warning eliminates the lane change issue completely and the cameras should make the rear view expansive. That leaves the problem of side traffic and pedestrians but those should be eliminated by new technology as well. If the car can warn you of approaching side traffic when backing up shouldn't be a problem when moving forward.

So I think the solution is more tech rather than making the A pillars smaller.
 

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The fat A-pillars came about due to mandates for better rollover protection. remember around the year 2000 when truck based suv's were rolling over all the time? Ford explorers and under-inflated firestone tires... No we all got factory rollover protection.

Here is regular Car Reviews test of a Fiesta ST. It isn't really a car review more than a well researched rant on roll-over standards that were introduced a dozen years back.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gw-3zLZheII
 

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When I look out, I use my two eyes independently to change the perspective view, so the "A" pillar doesn't block much from my view in any vehicle that I have driven since 1968. That pillar will never disappear from any future cars, as it is the first supprt for the roof, it must withstand a rollover, and it must prevent the roof from crushing the cabin. Now it has to be even stronger to help the vehicle pass the NHTSA partial frontal collision tests, as many past vehicles will not pass that test.
 

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Sorry, crash safety/ratings trump A-pillar visibility every time. I, too, had a few close calls in my Gen 1-- always at night involving pedestrians-- but GM's best design efforts are on display in Gen 2, and the problem persists. Perhaps front cameras with A-pillar displays is the answer, but as long as the pillar must contain an airbag, it's going to be fat. And you can bet that HS steel is already employed wherever an advantage is to be gained. Be careful out there.
 

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My previous vehicle was a Toyota FJ Cruiser, so the volt is actually a huge improvement visibility-wise. The FJ was basically like driving a panel van - no real side or rear visibility except for the mirrors.
 

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I'll admit that the rear visibility is an issue with me, but I'm spoiled because I drive convertibles most of the time with almost 360 degree vision. I've become used to the fat A pillars over the last 15 or 18 years, and will take the rollover protection every time.
 

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I got the opportunity to drive a Tesla S and it has the same issue. Almost all cars now are like this. Roll-over standards, aero design, passenger space, less steel over all to reduce weight, lower roof designs and inclusion of airbags, speakers and whatever all contribute. At the right angle, you can almost hide a bloody semi from view let alone a mom pushing a stroller. One has to be extra vigilant when turning left or right or changing lanes or backing up. I find with cameras, it can add to the confusion as you now have more places to look than just out the window. The best safety device for this is my spouse yelling at me from the passenger seat when I am about to drive over someone. Instead of autopilot, why not just a virtual spouse in the passenger seat? That seems to work the best for me.
 
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