The New Volvo S80's Blind Spot Detector


I commuted into the office today in the new 2007 Volvo S80. This is an important redesign for Volvo, and because it’s the company’s flagship, it’s loaded with some fancy safety equipment. This morning’s short jaunt on Interstate 90/94 in Chicago proved that one of them, the Blind Spot Information System, certainly lives up to its name.

There are three parts to the system — a $595 stand-alone option — that drivers will notice. One is the indicator itself, a translucent square at the bottom corner of each front window, right above the tweeter for the sound system. The device that registers if a car is in your blind spot is a camera mounted right next to the side mirror, and the best part is the simple-to-turn-on-and-off button on the center stack that shuts the traffic-nanny off.


I had the sucker on all morning, and I thought in stop-and-go rush-hour traffic an orange light illuminating every time someone was in my blind spot would be annoying, but the color and intensity, at least in daylight, doesn’t steal attention away from the road. I thought for sure with its location in the corner of my vision it would do just that, but it was only noticeable when I glanced in its direction. The driver’s side was more noticeable than the passenger side light, however, so I must have registered it without really paying attention. Still, it is subtle.


I didn’t really need to use the BLIS during my drive, though. The side mirrors and my experience as a driver meant I didn’t really need the system, but I can see how, on a longer drive with more fast-moving traffic, a light would definitely stop me from making an absent-minded move. That would be worth the $595 price tag to save me from feeling stupid in such a situation. 


This morning, the only thing I wished the car had was a paint gun to flag the woman in the Chevy Malibu who had to actually turn her car about 60 degrees to get it wedged into the small gap in front of me to cut me off. She then proceeded to cut someone off in another lane. A few miles later she was about 10 car lengths ahead of me. Can Volvo do anything about that? I’d pay double.

By David Thomas | February 16, 2007 | Comments (9)


The second generation S80 is one fine car. Looking forward to getting one.


This is one nice equipment to have, however, if anything happened to the mirror, you know, like parking too close to a pole, and got smashed, how much is it gonna cost to fix it?

Still, I think every automaker should make this kind of technology standard.

I wish to know what is the button left of the BLIS for.

BTW, Dave, if I were you, I would not let the woman pass me from the first place to start with, and if she forces it, I'll definitely honk her, because if she is trying to get to the exit, she should have stay at the correct lane like a few miles ago.


I saw a commercial for the S80 where a warning (lights and beeping) goes off if you get too close to the car (object?) in front of you. Kind of like a parking assist but to keep you from rearending another car. I guess that button turns it on.

This is why the main priority if volvo is the safety of the consumers to keep safe in cases of crashes and they have set the standard again and again in car safety with their innovative safety systems like volvo plugs
- as a critical parts of the volvo power train, and they've carries a wide array of safety features some of which are standard on all volvo vehicles.

Alex B

You can save the money and adjust your side mirrors so that you don't have a blind spot in the first place:

It explains how to set things up so that your side mirrors pick up where the edges of your rear view mirror leave off. Once you've done that, your blind spot's gone and the only thing you can't see in your mirrors is what's right beside you, which you can see in your peripheral vision instead.

When I first read this I was pretty skeptical, but I did it and after a couple of weeks I got used to it and find it works quite well.


I'm actually weary of the new safety tools, they almost seem to give excuses to the driver for slacking on paying attention. In all three commercials the drivers are not abiding with appropriate driving skills...the couple racing to get to the hot dog stand, he's driving awfully fast on a city street...the lady who reaches down to pick something up that fell on her car floor instead of watching the road as she's driving, almost running a stop sign and slamming into kids... and the guy who uses the blind spot tool, he didn't even turn to look like your supposed to. I just fear that those who really shouldn't be driving will use these tools as an excuse to be lazy and slack on doing things themselves, like they should do to begin with. The tools are good if they are applied with good driving but not all of society drives safely…like the woman that cut you off…if she did look she didn’t care and if she didn’t I don’t think the blind spot signal would been paid attention to by her. Hopefully a good idea doesn’t turn into a nightmare on the road.

Adjusting your side-mirrors on your blind-spots, is prohibited by law in the European Union. You want to see your own country's or State's Vehicle Code for more information.

The back-draw of adjusting your mirrors like this, is that your rear-view mirror can be blocked in numerous of traffic situations.

Therefore you are not able to see traffic coming from far behind in the lane next to you: especially during rush hour where the speed of traffic differs from lane to lane is this concidered a big NO NO in our profession.


I would like to say this... in the commercial it starts out with roughly... "Joe is about to hit a motorcyclist who is in his blind spot" Well the reason Joe is about to hit him is because he did not turn and check his blind spot, (twice for that matter), a procedure that should be second nature and intuitively disciplined in all drivers!

Plus , it appears the roadway was clear in all lanes, perhaps Joe should himself, have been driving in the right lane. Hmm ok , go ahead and defend your middle and left lane driving,(even at the posted limit), you won't win me over on that one! Slower traffic, move to the right!
Devices like this undermine the fundamental basis of true driving safety and will result in a continued furthering dependence to rely on technology, rather than good driving skills to control our decisions. I feel this will result in the continued erosion of driver awareness and smart driving behavior.

Wait till the woman who cut you off gets one of these .. she will end up 11 cars ahead of you, and driving with an even greater dangerous sense of idiotic mentality!

But what upsets me the most, is that Lexus makes no verbal warning to mention,"You should always check your blind spot, and this devise may assist you in avoiding impacts or collisions.'

And one last safety and traffic flow point,
If you are driving in the left lane,even at or near the posted limit, and there are 1 or more cars directly behind behind you, and there is no car in front of you, GET TO THE RIGHT!
Safe travels All!


oops... Volvo.. But I am sure other auto makers wont be far behind with more dumbing down technology!

Well your honor,I am sorry they died, but my blind spot detector did not go off"

Gee, can I sue Volvo from an incarcerated perspective?

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