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Home » News and Events » Eyesight and Driving

Eyesight and Driving

Safe driving is dependent upon on good vision. If you think about it, driving safely depends on several different visual abilities – for example, distance and near vision, side or peripheral vision, night vision and color vision, plus many others.

Being able to see well into the distance is vital because it allows you to observe the road in front of you and see any danger that might appear. Most importantly, it gives you the opportunity to act fast and prevent any mishaps that could take place. On the other hand, if you lack strong distance vision then there's a chance you may not be able to see dangers in time to stop an accident.

Distance vision is also directly related to the condition of your glasses and windshield, so make sure these are clean and clear of both scratches and dust which can inhibit your ability to see clearly, especially when it's dark or sunny.

You also need peripheral vision, which allows you to see to the sides of your vehicle, which is needed to spot other cars, animals and pedestrians without needing to even glance away from the road ahead. Being able to see peripherally is also crucial when changing lanes and turning. Make sure you know how to use both your side and rearview mirrors. Make sure they're well-positioned, to enhance your side vision.

Road safety is also highly dependent on good depth perception. It allows you to evaluate distances accurately in crowded traffic, switch lanes and overtake other cars on the road. Good depth perception needs proper vision in both eyes. If you've lost visual acuity in one eye, it's advised to check with an optometrist to determine if it is okay for you to drive. It may be suggested that you stop driving until your vision is corrected to achieve proper depth perception.

Near vision focusing or being able to accommodate properly also comes into use on the road. If you're unfamiliar with the term accommodating, it is the ability to move your focus from something far to something in front of you, for example, from the distance ahead of you to the dashboard. If you've recently hit middle-age you might have trouble with near vision, and it might be helpful for you to get reading glasses or another vision correction solution to see objects up close. Speak to your eye doctor to discuss the best option.

Strong color vision is also pretty important in the car. Drivers must be able to quickly see traffic lights, indicator signs and warning signals. If you've got a color vision defect, your response time could be a little slower than that of others. If this sounds familiar, avoid using medium or dark colored sunglasses, as these can restrict the ability to differentiate between colors.

At the first sign of a vision problem, think about how it affects your ability to drive. You can't afford to endanger your own life or those of others on the road! If you suspect your eyesight isn't up to par, see your eye doctor, and have a proper eye exam sooner rather than later.