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Vision and Driving

One of the greatest necessities for road safety is, undeniably, good vision. Actually, safety on the road depends on a combination of a number of different visual abilities such as distance and near vision, peripheral vision, seeing in limited light and color vision, to name a few.

Being able to see well into the distance is crucial because of how it helps you to observe the stretch of road ahead and detect any dangerous things that might be present. Most importantly, it gives you a chance to act fast and prevent any accidents. On the other hand, if your distance vision is poor you may not see dangers until it's too late.

Distance vision is also directly related to the maintenance of your glasses and windshield, so ensure these are kept consistently clean and clear of dust and scratches which can inhibit your ability to see clearly, specifically at night and on bright days.

Equally as important is peripheral vision, which enables you see the sides of your car, which is needed to be aware of pedestrians, animals and cross traffic without needing to even glance away from the road lying ahead. Being able to see peripherally is also important when you're switching lanes and making turns. Make sure you know how to use both your rearview and side mirrors. Check they're angled properly, to help your side vision.

Road safety is also highly dependent on good depth perception. It lets you measure distances accurately in dense driving conditions, change lanes and pass other vehicles. Accurate depth perception needs proper functioning in both of your eyes. If one lacks proper vision in one eye, it's important to consult with an optometrist to see whether it is safe for you to get behind the wheel. You may need to stop driving until a solution is found to correct your vision.

Near vision focusing or the ability to accommodate properly also plays an important role on the road. This is the capability to move your focus from something ahead to something in front of you, for example, from the road to the speedometer. If you've recently hit middle-age it's common for you to have a slight challenge with near vision, and it's normal to require glasses or another vision correction solution to see your dashboard. Speak to your eye doctor to discuss the best option.

Being able to see color also comes into play on the road. Those in the driver's seat need to be able to quickly identify traffic lights, indicator signs and hazard lights. For those with a color vision defect, response time could be a little slower than that of others. If this is the case, avoid using medium or dark blue sunglasses, because these can inhibit your ability to identify colors.

At the first sign of a vision problem, think about how it affects your ability to drive. You don't want to endanger your own life or those of other people on the road! If you think your eyesight isn't perfect, make an appointment with your eye doctor, and get a thorough eye exam sooner rather than later.

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