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On the Road with Good Vision

Proper eyesight is required for safe driving. Actually, safe driving depends on several 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.

Strong distance vision is very important because of how it helps you to observe the road in front and become aware of any dangerous things that might appear. Being able to see ahead allows you to react early and prevent any mishaps that could take place. Alternatively, if you don’t see ahead well then there’s a chance you may not see dangers soon enough.

Just as important is peripheral vision, which enables you see the sides of your vehicle, which is crucial to see pedestrians, animals and cross traffic 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. Make sure 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. It helps you evaluate distances accurately in busy driving conditions, change lanes and pass other vehicles. Strong depth perception requires adequate vision in both of your eyes. In cases of people that have lost vision in one eye, it’s essential to consult with an eye doctor to determine if 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.

Accommodation also comes into use on the road. This is the ability to shift your focus from a view ahead to something near, like from the distance ahead of you to the dashboard. If you’re over the age of 45 you may have trouble with near vision, and you might need reading glasses or some other corrective device to help you see your dashboard. Make an appointment with your eye doctor to discuss the best option.

Strong color vision is also pretty important while driving. Drivers need to be able to quickly identify traffic lights, indicator signs and warning signals. If you’ve got a color vision defect, your reaction time could be slower than normal. If this is the case, avoid using medium or dark colored sunglasses, as these can inhibit the ability to discern colors.

At the first sign of vision problems, think about how it affects your ability to drive. You don’t want to endanger your own life or the lives of the others on the road! If you suspect your eyesight isn’t up to par, visit your optometrist, and have a proper eye exam right away.