There's A Better Term For 'Blind Spot'

Photo: AP
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.

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.

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

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Captain Intenso

Too many people don’t have their side mirrors adjusted correctly. You should not be able to see any of your car in your side mirror. Adjust the driver side mirror by moving your head near the window and angling the mirror so you can’t see the side of your car. Adjust the passenger side mirror by leaning to the middle of the car and adjusting the mirror so you can’t see that side of the car. That will expose just about anything in your “dead angle.”