Safety behind the wheel In fact, staying safe on the road requires a number of visual capabilities – for example, 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.
Distance vision is crucial because it lets you scan the road ahead of you and detect any dangers that might be present. Most importantly, it gives you the opportunity to respond quickly and prevent any accidents. On the other hand, if you struggle with distance vision you may not be able to see hazards in time to stop an accident.
You also need peripheral or side vision, which enables you to see the sides of your vehicle, which is crucial to spot pedestrians, animals and cross traffic without having to even glance away from the road ahead. Being able to see peripherally is also crucial for changing lanes and making turns. Make sure you know how to use both your rearview and side mirrors. Make sure they're angled properly, to enhance your view of the road to your sides and back.
Road safety is also highly dependent on good depth perception. This helps you measure distances accurately in dense driving conditions, switch lanes and pass other cars on the road. Accurate depth perception needs adequate sight in both eyes. If one lacks proper vision in one eye, it's advised to consult with an eye doctor to determine whether it is okay for you to get behind the wheel. You may have to refrain from driving until a solution is found to correct your vision.
Accommodation also keeps you in good stead when driving. If you're unfamiliar with the term accommodating, it is the capability to shift your focus from a view ahead to something near, for example, from the road to the dashboard. For those 45 or older you may have a slight challenge with near vision, and you might need reading glasses or another vision correction solution to make it easier to see your dashboard. Make an appointment with your optometrist to talk about the best option.
Being able to see color also comes into play while driving. Those in the driver's seat need to be able to quickly see traffic lights, indicator signs and warning lights. For those with a color vision defect, response time could be a little slower than normal. If this sounds familiar, it's best not to wear medium or dark blue sunglasses, because these can seriously interfere with the ability to discern colors.
At the first sign of a vision problem, think about how it affects your ability to drive. You can't afford to risk your life or those of other people on the road! If you feel your eyesight isn't perfect, see your eye doctor, and get a proper eye exam sooner rather than later.