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On the Road with Good Vision

Proper vision is essential for road safety. If you think about it, safety on the road relies on a combination of a number of different visual abilities such as being able to see both far ahead as well as your immediate surroundings, peripheral vision, seeing in limited light and color vision, plus many others.

Distance vision is crucial because it allows you to scan the road in front of you and become aware of any dangerous things that might come up. This gives you more time to act fast and prevent any accidents. On the other hand, if you lack strong distance vision you might not be able to see the dangers soon enough.


Equally as important is peripheral vision, which enables you see both sides of your vehicle, which is necessary to be aware of other cars, animals and pedestrians without having to look away from the road lying ahead. Being able to see peripherally is also crucial when you're changing lanes and making turns. Use both your rearview and side mirrors. Check 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 correctly in crowded driving conditions, switch lanes and pass other cars. Accurate depth perception needs adequate functioning in both eyes. If one lacks proper vision in one eye, it's advised to check with an eye doctor to see if it is safe for you to drive. You may need to stop driving until your vision is corrected to achieve proper depth perception.

Near vision focusing or the ability to accommodate effectively also keeps you in good stead on the road. Accommodating is the ability to shift your focus from something in the distance to something near, such as from the road to the speedometer. For those 45 or older it's common for you to have trouble with near vision, and you might need reading glasses or another vision correction solution to make it easier to see your dashboard. Call your optometrist to discuss the best option.

Strong color vision is also pretty important while driving. Drivers need to be able to instantly recognize traffic lights, road signs and hazard signals. For those with a color vision defect, your reaction time may be slower than that of others. If this sounds familiar, it's best not to wear medium or dark colored sunglasses, because these can restrict your ability to identify colors.

At the first sign of vision problems, think about how it affects your ability to drive. You can't afford to risk your life or the lives of other people on the road! If you think your vision isn't up to par, make an appointment with your optometrist, and have a thorough eye exam as soon as you can.