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How Vision Affects Road Safety

Safety behind the wheel If you think about it, safety on the road needs a combination of a number of different visual abilities such as being able to see both far ahead as well as your immediate surroundings, side or peripheral vision, seeing in limited light and color vision, just to name some examples.

Distance vision is crucial because of how it allows you to observe the stretch of road in front of you and detect any risks that might come up. This gives you a chance to react early and stop an accident from happening. Alternatively, if you struggle with distance vision then there's a chance you might not be aware of the dangers in time to stop an accident.

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

Road safety is also highly dependent on good depth perception. This lets you judge distances properly in busy traffic, switch lanes and overtake other cars on the road. Good depth perception requires adequate sight in both of your eyes. If one lacks proper vision in one eye, it's important to consult with your optometrist to see whether it is safe for you to get behind the wheel. 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 keeps you in good stead while on the road. This is the ability to move your focus from something ahead to something in front of you, for example, from the distance ahead of you to the speedometer. If you're over the age of 45 you may have increasing difficulty with near vision, and it might be helpful for you to get glasses or some other vision correction solution to help you see objects up close. Make an appointment with your optometrist to talk about the options.

Strong color vision is also pretty important in the car. Those in the driver's seat need to be able to instantly recognize traffic lights, road signs and hazard lights. If you've got a color vision defect, response time might be a little slower than that of others. If this sounds familiar, avoid using medium or dark blue sunglasses, because these can interfere with your ability to differentiate between colors.

Try not to hold off until you renew or get your driver's license to have an eye exam. You don't want to endanger your own life or those of other people on the road! If you suspect your eyesight isn't up to par, make an appointment with your eye doctor, and have a thorough eye exam right away.