Dangling Dangers

One in 20 cars has potential ornamental blind spot in windscreen

8 September 2011

One in 20 cars has potential ornamental blind spot in windscreen

Five per cent of drivers, equivalent to 1.5 million drivers,  feel the need to have things dangling from their rear-view mirrors and may be breaking the law, according to an AA spot-check survey.

The survey of more than 2,000 vehicles on motorways this week found that one in 20 vehicles had items dangling from their rear-view mirror which could create a blind-spot. The number one item was a green scented tree which seemed to be favoured by van and pick-up truck drivers.

The most bizarre and dangerous item was a silver CD which in the morning sunlight had the extra danger of dazzling other drivers with the reflection. There appears to be a totally unfounded urban myth that dangling a CD will somehow avert speed camera detection. It doesn’t.

Top 5

The top 5 items spotted dangling in the windscreen were:

  • Air fresheners (mainly trees)
  • Teddy bears (from small to one foot in length)
  • Miniature footballs
  • Beads/ rosary beads
  • Coats of arms (mainly football clubs)

Other odd items included small pots, shamrock, a leprechaun, a camera, ceramic animals, furry dice, boxing gloves, a Margaret Thatcher doll, a turquoise peace sign charm and a miniature horse. The survey also found vehicles with more than one item dangling and others with discarded danglers above the dashboard.

Motor vehicle construction and use regulations require you to have and keep a full view of the road and traffic ahead. Windscreens and windows MUST be kept clean and free from obstructions to vision. The police could fine drivers if they felt that vision was impaired and technically the car could fail an MOT. In the MOT you should not have a windscreen sticker or other obstruction encroaching more than 10mm in the area below the rear-view mirror.


Commenting, Edmund King, AA president, said: “The best windscreen is a clean and clear windscreen. Many drivers seem intent on customising their cars with windscreen clutter which often obscures their view.

“While most of the air fresheners were small and probably not interfering with vision, some cars were so cluttered that the drivers’ vision must have been impaired. At a junction a large teddy bear could easily form a blind-spot to obscure sighting of a passing pedestrian or cyclist.

“We urge all drivers to remove any dangerous danglers so that they can concentrate on the road ahead.”

Other potential hazards

Many cars were also noted with:

  • windscreen sat nav devices positioned dangerously within the drivers’ direct field of vision
  • parcel shelves full of cuddly toys, tissue boxes etc obscuring rear vision
  • car stickers, ironically also including road safety messages, obscuring vision.

(AA Spot-check survey of 2,000 vehicles was carried out on motorways on Monday 5 September, 2011)

(6 September 2011)