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How Vision Affects Road Safety

Safety behind the wheel In fact, road safety depends on a combination of a number of different visual capabilities such as the ability to see both near and far ahead, side or peripheral vision, seeing at night and color vision, plus many others.

Being able to see well into the distance is crucial because it allows you to evaluate the stretch of road ahead of you and become aware of any dangers that might appear. Most importantly, it gives you more time to act fast and stop any accidents that might have otherwise taken place. Alternatively, if your distance vision is poor you might not be able to see the hazards soon enough.

Distance vision is also affected by the state of your windshield and glasses (including sunglasses), so ensure these are kept really clean and clear of both scratches and dust which can inhibit your vision, especially when it's dark or sunny.

Just as important is peripheral or side vision, which enables you to see either side of your vehicle, which is crucial to spot other cars, animals and pedestrians without having to even glance away from the road lying ahead. Strong peripheral vision is also crucial when changing lanes and turning. Use your side and rearview mirrors. Make sure they're well-positioned, to enhance your side vision.

Additionally, good depth perception is important for road safety. It lets you judge distances correctly in dense traffic, switch lanes and pass other vehicles. Strong depth perception requires adequate functioning in both eyes. If you've lost visual acuity in one eye, it's advised to consult with your eye doctor to see whether it is safe for you to drive. It may be suggested that you refrain from driving until your vision is corrected to achieve proper depth perception.

Near vision focusing or the ability to accommodate instantly also plays an important role on the road. Accommodating is the capability to shift your focus from a view in the distance to something near, like from the road to the speedometer. If you're over the age of 45 you might have trouble with near vision, and it's normal to require glasses or another corrective device to make it easier to see your dashboard. Speak to your eye doctor to discuss the options.


It's best not to wait until you renew or get your driver's license to have an eye exam. You never want to endanger your life or the lives of others on the road! If you feel your eyesight isn't up to par, visit your optometrist, and have a thorough eye exam as soon as you can.


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