Windscreen pillars, sometimes referred to as ‘A’ pillars, are the vertical supports at the front of your car on either side of the windscreen.
Potential hazards can be hidden behind them and out of the view of the driver, such as pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles, especially at intersections and junctions. The degree of severity of this hazard varies from vehicle to vehicle and can be quite significant in some models.
Windscreen pillars represent a challenge for vehicle designers as they want to increase the thickness of the pillar to provide greater safety. But unfortunately this has the corresponding effect of increasing the possibility of things being hidden from view behind them, and a Loughborough University study confirms this.
Windscreen pillar blind spots
Autoglass commissed research in this area and found a wide range in the sizes of the blind spots created by windscreen pillars. They offer some tips for reducing the impact of the hazard. These include:
- making sure you’re aware of the hazard pillars represent, especially when driving a different vehicle you’re not used to;
- moving the position of your head to ensure you aren’t missing anything behind the pillar;
- and always double checking, especially at junctions.
Transparent windscreen pillars
Because of the safety issue, Jaguar are investigating the concept of ‘transparent’ windscreen pillars. These aren’t actually transparent, but through technology they are able to given the illusion of transparency by using cameras to display what is behind the pillar. So for the driver it’s as through they can see through it. This is just a concept at this stage, but Toyota are also investigating a similar concept.