Tesla Blind Spot Detection Feature Explained: Does It Work?

By Nicki Schill •  Updated: 10/17/22 •  6 min read

Nearly 1 in 10 vehicle accidents are caused by vehicles changing lanes according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

You know what significantly lowers your risk for these types of collisions? Blind spot detection or monitoring. 

Using bling spot detection gives you an extra set of eyes on the space just off the rear quarter areas of your vehicle to know exactly when it’s safe to merge lanes.

Many automakers have turned blind spot detection into a standard feature as precautionary safety measures become increasingly important.

In many vehicles, the blind spot detection feature acts like a warning with a series of beeps letting you know another vehicle is currently in your blind spot when you turn your signal on to change lanes. Maybe there are lights that pop up on your side view mirror too.

Teslas do have blind spot detection, but it operates a bit differently.

We’ll walk through how it works and if it differs between Tesla models.

Do Teslas Have Blind Spot Detection?

Yes, Teslas do have blind spot detection. It’s just not the same as you’ve seen in other manufacturers.

Most other cars have blind spot warnings that show up on the side mirrors, coupled possibly with an audible warning.

Teslas have a different approach.

As you drive, the main touch screen will show cars in red that are currently in your blind spot. 

If you want to change lanes and turn your signal on, there’s an audible warning to let you know of cars in your blind spot as well.

Taking it a step further, Tesla has an option called Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance where the car will automatically steer back into the original lane to avoid a potential collision. 

Sort of like a built-in safety net, Tesla wants you to avoid lane change accidents as much as possible. But the car’s ability to automatically change lanes is dependent on your package.

The Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance feature was originally rolled out in 2019 to certain Model 3s and has since been added to all other models.

Additionally, in Tesla’s 2021 holiday update, they introduced the Blind Spot Camera feature available on all Tesla models.

Now when you indicate a lane change, a small box appears on your main touch screen showing a camera angle of your vehicle’s blind spot.

Credit to Not a Tesla App

It also knows to show the right side or the left depending on your signal choice.

Many users are loving this additional camera feature for their blind spot detection. It provides an extra level of security with great visibility into any cars that might be lurking in your blind spot.

In the latest 2022.24 software release, you can now change the location the Blind Spot Camera feed shows up on your main screen as drivers complained the steering wheel was getting in the way a bit. 

However, the only downside to Tesla’s blind spot detection remains that even when you can choose the location of the additional camera, it and all the other indicators and images take place on the main touch screen. 

This isn’t exactly where your eyes should be when making a lane change, and many owners wonder why they didn’t simply go the same route as all other automakers and place some sort of warning or indicator on their side-view mirrors.

Tesla contends that eventually everything will run on Autopilot, which could explain why they didn’t feel the need to put warnings in the side-view mirrors as they have built-in automatic lane changes.

How Tesla Blind Spot Detection Works

Here’s a breakdown of how the blind spot detection works in your Tesla.

When you indicate you’re about to change lanes, your Tesla will do the following:

NOTE: This is only available when Autopilot is not engaged.

How to Enable Tesla Blind Spot Detection

So by default in your Tesla, any vehicles that are in your blind spot will appear red on the touch screen. You don’t have to do anything to enable this feature; it’s already built in.

But if you’re looking for that added layer of protection by using the blind spot camera to get a real-time glimpse of the lane beside you, here’s a quick video walking you through how to turn on the new blind spot camera feature in V11. 


It’s not set up by default, so you do actually have to enable it. Here’s how:

  1. From the Tesla icon, open up your Controls.
  2. Select Autopilot from the menu.
  3. *Toggle on the Automatic Blind Spot Camera.

*This is also where you can turn off/on the warning chime for potential collisions.

If you want to adjust the placement of your camera, here’s a tutorial video on how to move that around on your touch screen.

Essentially, it works like a drag-and-drop if you hold the image long enough.

Tesla Blind Spot Detection Downsides

While the screen notifications, along with the new camera angles, will have your blind spot covered, it’s kind of annoying to have to look away from the road to the screen to see it. 

It’s kind of Tesla’s thing though to keep all the relevant information on the screen — even the speedometer is there in the Model 3 and Y. 

What’s a comfortable passing distance for you to switch lanes might not be suitable for Tesla, so it’s a plus to be able to turn off and on the warning chimes as you please.

And if you find yourself thinking the grass is greener with on-mirror notifications like in other manufacturers’ vehicles, that might not be the case.

Drivers note that on-mirror notifications can sometimes get lost in the sun depending on the color, so at least that won’t be a problem for on-screen notifications.

Final Thoughts

Blind spot detection is key for reducing lane-changing collisions and keeping drivers more alert on the road.

The warnings and camera angles with Tesla’s blind spot detection will make you more situationally aware of what’s happening around you and can be a good reminder to pay attention when you’re driving. 

You don’t want to have to solely rely on the blind spot technology, but it’s a nice safety net for sure.

Nicki Schill

Nicki Schill is a writer and content marketer out of Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. As the former Geotab Marketing Manager, she’s got loads of experience in electric vehicles and fleet electrification. She’s a tech blogger and marketing guru who enjoys all things Canadian like hockey and poutine.

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