Researchers at motor investigation agency MIRA claim thicker, more steeply angled A-pillars - designed for greater structural safety - have led to the dangerous new 'A-spot'.
"A blind spot has been created which thousands of motorists aren't aware of," said Nigel Doggett, boss of research sponsor Autoglass. "The A-spot can obscure entire vehicles, and not enough is being done to find a solution."
MIRA's tests demonstrated how popular models such as the Jeep Cherokee, Land Rover Freelander, Ford Focus C-Max and SEAT Leon all obscured the vision of the driver viewing objects 23 metres away - the stopping distance at 30mph (see table). Owners of the Jeep were found to have a blind spot measuring 4.5 metres wide at this distance. Department for Transport (DfT) figures reveal a fifth of all accidents at junctions list "Looked but failed to see" as a contributing factor. A spokeswoman for Jeep told us: "It's hard to see what this proves in the real world. People sit in cars differently; a tall man wouldn't have the same view as a short woman. We are committed to safety, and the Cherokee got four stars in Euro NCAP crash tests."