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How Vision Affects Driving

Safety behind the wheel If you think about it, safe driving relies on a combination of a number of different visual capabilities like being able to see both far ahead as well as your immediate surroundings, side or peripheral vision, seeing at night and color vision, plus many others.

Distance vision is crucial because of how it helps you to evaluate the stretch of road in front and spot any dangers that might be present. Most importantly, it allows you to react early and avoid an accident from happening. Alternatively, if you struggle with distance vision you might not be able to see hazards soon enough.

Distance vision is also influenced by the state of your glasses and windshield, so make sure they are clean and scratch-free which can inhibit your sight, specifically when it's dark or sunny.

Just as important is peripheral vision, which enables you to see to the sides of your car, which is important to see other cars, animals and pedestrians without needing to even glance away from the road lying ahead. Being able to see peripherally is also crucial when changing lanes and turning. Use your rearview and side mirrors. Check they're adjusted correctly, to assist your side vision.

Road safety is also highly dependent on good depth perception. It allows you to measure distances accurately in dense traffic, switch lanes and overtake other cars. Accurate depth perception calls for proper vision in both of your eyes. If you've lost visual acuity in one eye, it's advised to check with your eye doctor to determine if it is safe for you to get behind the wheel. You may have to stop driving until your vision is corrected to achieve proper depth perception.

Accommodation also plays an important role while on the road. Accommodating is the ability to move your focus from something in the distance to something in front of you, such as from the road to the speedometer. For those 45 or older you may have a slight challenge with near vision, and it might be helpful for you to get glasses or another corrective device to make it easier to see your dashboard. Make an appointment with your eye doctor to discuss the options.

It's best not to wait until you renew or apply for your driver's license to make sure your vision is in check. You never want to endanger your own life or the lives of other people on the road! If you suspect your eyesight isn't adequate, make an appointment with your optometrist, and have a thorough eye exam as soon as you can.