Before automakers started equipping cars with all sorts of blinking lights and beeping telltales, there were still ways to mitigate blind spots, keep your following distance consistent, and generally avoid accidents. Of course, nobody is going to deny that the public at large seems only mildly interested in steering 3,500 pounds of automobile in between stints on the phone, so the addition of radar-sensing systems like Ford's BLIS or Infiniti's Lane Departure Warning at least reminds inattentive drivers that there's a world on the other side of the glass.

Ford's Steve Kozak, when quizzed about the necessity of blind spot detection systems by The New York Times' Christopher Jensen, concedes that if most drivers adjusted their rearview mirrors in the fashion suggested by engineer George Platzer in a 1995 SAE paper, there'd be virtually no need for BLIS. Platzer suggests leaning far to the left and right while adjusting the respective side mirrors, which should reduce or eliminate any blind spot issues altogether. The reality is, though, that most drivers need all the help they can get. Not only is Ford using the Volvo-developed BLIS, but it's also taken up another of Platzer's mirror ideas, the BlindZoneMirror, as seen on the Ford Edge.

While manufacturers are fitting cars with gadgetry that's little more than a thin panacea to the cancer of inattentive, poorly trained drivers, we want the warning horns going off inside that car drifting into our lane just the same.

[Source: New York Times]