Photo: AP

I have taken too many rides in cars with drivers who don’t check their blind spots when changing lanes. On the highway. At 80 miles an hour. Maybe the problem is the term “blind spot” isn’t serious enough.

As it turns out, German has a different term for “blind spot” that carries the gravity I hoped it would: toter Winkel. That’s “dead angle,” as in, this is the angle in which you find death.

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What’s funny is that while the term sounds more than a little macabre compared to our English one, toter Winkel doesn’t have a particularly grave tone in German. It’s fairly matter-of-fact. ‘Oh yeah, that’s the spot that’s likely to get you killed’ is pretty much the attitude.

Needless to say, Germans are significantly more conscientious drivers than Americans. The only problem I have is “dead angle” is kind of clunky with a direct translation. Maybe we should go with “death zone,” though if you’d like to work “dead angle” into your regular vocab, I’m not going to stop you.