Driver vision specialist Lens-Tech has developed a solution which it says can dramatically improve forward visibility on trucks fitted with so-called ‘peeper windows’, effectively eliminating the blind spot created by windscreen pillars.
The company, which designs and builds Fresnel lenses for commercial vehicles to provide drivers with blind spot visibility, has begun applying its Hi-Vue lenses to the ‘peeper’ windows in the lower front doors of truck cabs, which have become increasingly popular since London’s Direct Vision Standard (DVS) came into force in March.
Positioned on the nearside peeper window in portrait format, the lens can improve forward visibility by 30 degrees, says Lens-Tech, allowing the driver to see into the area obscured by the windscreen pillar and considerably improving their ability to spot anyone or anything close to the front left-hand corner of the truck.
“It’s very difficult to alleviate the blind spot created by the pillar, and a pedestrian or cyclist hidden behind it is extraordinarily vulnerable,” said Les Haigh, CEO of Lens-Tech.
“With the force majeure of FORS and the DVS requirements of getting the maximum amount of vision you can from the driver’s seat, there’s a strong push towards getting those peeper windows into the doors.
“We’re discovering that there’s even more to be had from a lens in a peeper window, because of the huge blind-spot zone behind that pillar, but if you attach our small A5-size lens to the glass in the right place, you’ll see around it.”
Lens-Tech’s Hi-Vue Fresnel lenses are made from PVC or acrylic, easily stick to glass using peel-back self-adhesive and, at 21x 12cm, they take up a nominal amount of window space.
The company says it lenses are applied to peeper windows of most new Daimler Trucks and Kenworth models produced in the US, and they are also issued by Highways England to drivers of left-hand drive lorries arriving at UK ports.
In trucks without peeper windows, they have traditionally been applied to the rear of the nearside passenger window in a horizontal format, to increase visibility below the door – and to vans, to better the driver’s view along the nearside panel.
No adaptation of the existing product is required for vehicles with peeper windows; it is simply a case of sticking the lens to the correct area of the glass.
“The reason we haven’t looked at this area until recently is because we didn’t want to place a lens in a position where it could obstruct the driver’s view of the mirrors,” added business development manager, Mike Eastwood, “but now that manufacturers are fitting peeper windows to trucks coming off the line for the UK market, there is an opportunity for transport managers to consider enhancing that view even further.”
Hi-Vue lenses also represent a low-cost solution for operators looking to make their vehicles safer, says Lens-Tech. Orders can be made with the company directly – purchase and contact details are available at the website – or through most UK truck component resellers.