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How Vision Affects Driving

Proper vision is required for road safety. In fact, safety on the road depends on a number of visual capabilities such as distance and near vision, side or peripheral vision, night vision and color vision, plus many others.

Distance vision is highly necessary because it lets you observe the stretch of road in front of you and see any dangers that might be present. This gives you more time to respond quickly and avoid any accidents that might have otherwise taken place. On the other hand, if you lack strong distance vision you might not be able to see dangers soon enough.


You also need peripheral or side vision, which enables you see either side of your car, which is crucial to spot pedestrians, animals and cross traffic without needing to look away from the road lying ahead. Being able to see peripherally is also important when switching lanes and making turns. Make sure you know how to use both your rearview and side mirrors. Ensure they're angled properly, to assist your side vision.

Additionally, good depth perception is important for road safety. This allows you to measure distances correctly in busy traffic, change lanes and overtake other vehicles on the road. Good depth perception requires adequate functioning in both eyes. In cases of people that have lost vision in one eye, it's advised to consult with your optometrist to see whether it is okay 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 comes into use while on the road. Accommodating is the capability to shift your focus from a view ahead to something close, such as from the road to the dashboard. For those 45 or older you might have trouble with near vision, and it's normal to require glasses or some other vision correction solution to make it easier to see objects up close. Speak to your optometrist to discuss the options.

Color vision also comes into play in the car. Those driving must be able to immediately recognize traffic lights, road signs and warning signals. For those with a color vision defect, response time may be a little slower than normal. If this is the case, avoid using medium or dark colored sunglasses, as these can seriously inhibit the ability to differentiate between colors.

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