How Vision Affects Driving

Excellent eyesight is necessary for road safety. In fact, driving safely depends on a combination of a number of different visual abilities like being able to see both far ahead as well as your immediate surroundings, side or peripheral vision, night vision and color vision, plus many others.

Being able to see well into the distance is very important because it lets you observe the stretch of road in front of you and spot any dangerous things that might come up. This allows you to act fast and avoid any mishaps that could take place. On the other hand, if you lack strong distance vision then there's a chance you might not be able to see the hazards until it's too late.


Just as important is peripheral or side vision, which enables you see both sides of your car, which is important to see pedestrians, animals and cross traffic without needing to look away from the road lying ahead. Being able to see peripherally is also important for switching lanes and turning. Use your side and rearview mirrors. Check they're angled properly, to enhance your side vision.

Road safety is also highly dependent on good depth perception. This helps you measure distances correctly in dense driving conditions, switch lanes and pass other vehicles on the road. Accurate depth perception needs adequate vision in both of your eyes. If one lacks proper vision in one eye, it's advised to check with your optometrist to determine whether it is okay for you to get behind the wheel. It may be suggested that you refrain from driving until your vision is corrected to achieve proper depth perception.

Near vision focusing or being able to accommodate properly also plays an important role when driving. This is the ability to shift your focus from something ahead to something close, such as from the distance ahead of you to the speedometer. If you've recently hit middle-age you might have increasing difficulty with near vision, and it's normal to require glasses or another vision correction solution to help you see objects up close. Speak to your eye doctor to talk about the best option.

Being able to see color is also pretty important in the car. Drivers need to be able to quickly see traffic lights, road signs and hazard signals. For those with color blindness, response time might be a little slower than people with regular vision. If this is the case, it's best not to wear medium or dark blue sunglasses, as these can seriously restrict the 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 can't afford to risk your own life or the lives of other people on the road! If you think your eyesight isn't adequate, see your eye doctor, and get a thorough eye exam as soon as you can.


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