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How Vision Affects Road Safety

Good eyesight is necessary for road safety. Actually, safe driving relies on a combination of a number of different visual abilities like distance and near vision, peripheral vision, seeing in limited light and color vision, to name some examples.

Being able to see well into the distance is very important because of how it lets you observe the stretch of road ahead and detect any dangers that might appear. Being able to see ahead allows you to respond quickly and stop an accident from happening. And on the flip-side, if you lack strong distance vision then there's a chance you might not see the dangers soon enough.

Distance vision is also influenced by the condition of your glasses and windshield, so ensure both are clean and scratch-free which can reduce your vision, specifically when it's dark or sunny.

You also need peripheral vision, which enables you see the sides of your vehicle, which is crucial to be aware of pedestrians, animals and cross traffic without needing to look away from the road ahead. Strong peripheral vision is also important for changing lanes and making turns. Use your side and rearview mirrors. Ensure they're well-positioned, to enhance your side vision.

Road safety is also highly dependent on good depth perception. This helps you judge distances correctly in busy traffic, change lanes and pass other cars. Good depth perception needs proper vision in both eyes. In cases of people that have lost vision in one eye, it's important to consult with an optometrist to determine if it is okay for you to drive. You may have to stop driving until a solution is found to correct your vision.

Near vision focusing or being able to accommodate effectively also plays an important role on the road. If you're unfamiliar with the term accommodating, it is the capability to shift your focus from a view ahead to something in front of you, like from the distance ahead of you to the speedometer. If you're over the age of 45 you might have increasing difficulty with near vision, and it might be helpful for you to get glasses or some other corrective device to help you see your dashboard. Speak to your optometrist to discuss the options.

Being able to see color is also pretty important while driving. Those driving need to be able to immediately identify traffic lights, street signs and warning lights. If you've got color blindness, response time might be a little slower than normal. If this sounds familiar, avoid using medium or dark colored sunglasses, because these can seriously restrict the ability to discern colors.

At the first sign of a vision problem, consider how it affects your ability to drive. You never want to risk your life or those of others on the road! If you think your eyesight isn't up to par, make an appointment with your optometrist, and have a proper eye exam sooner rather than later.