Safety behind the wheel Actually, road safety requires several different visual abilities – for example, the ability to see both near and far ahead, side or peripheral vision, night vision and color vision, to name a few.
Distance vision is highly necessary because of how it helps you to scan the road ahead and detect any dangerous things that might appear. Being able to see ahead gives you the opportunity to respond quickly and stop accidents that might have otherwise taken place. On the other hand, if you lack strong distance vision you might not see the dangers until it's too late.
Distance vision is also directly related to the state of your glasses and windshield, so ensure both are kept very clean and scratch-free, since scratches can reduce your ability to see clearly, especially when it's dark or sunny.
Just as important is peripheral vision, which enables you to see to the sides of your vehicle, which is crucial to be aware of pedestrians, animals and cross traffic without needing to even glance away from the road ahead. Being able to see peripherally is also important for switching lanes and turning. Maximize use of your rearview and side mirrors. Make sure they’re well-positioned, to help your side vision.
Road safety is also highly dependent on good depth perception. This helps you measure distances properly in dense driving conditions, switch lanes and overtake other vehicles. Accurate depth perception requires proper functioning in both eyes. In cases of people that have lost vision in one eye, it's advised to check with your optometrist to determine if it is okay for you to drive. You may need to stop driving until a solution is found to correct your vision.
Near vision focusing or the ability to accommodate effectively also comes into use when driving. Accommodating is the ability to shift your focus from something far to something close, for example, from the distance ahead of you to the speedometer. For those 45 or older you may have increasing difficulty with near vision, and it's normal to require reading glasses or some other vision correction solution to see objects up close. Speak to your optometrist to discuss the best option.
It's best not to wait until you renew or apply for your driver's license to get your eyes checked. You can't afford to risk your own life or those of other people on the road! If you feel your vision isn't up to par, make an appointment with your optometrist, and get a proper eye exam as soon as you can.