Eyesight and driving: tips from IAM RoadSmart
by Helen Jackson |
posted 12 September 2018
Over time our eyesight deteriorates and if problems are left unaddressed they can often lead to poor reaction times and unexpected hazards, such as failing to clearly identify the actions of other road users.
Richard Gladman, IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards provides advice on eyesight and driving.
· Book regular check-ups. Eyesight can deteriorate over time without you noticing. If you are having to move closer to the television to read the titles clearly or have noticed even a slight deterioration with your eyes, we recommend a visit to the optician for a check-up; this should be done on a regular basis (every two years) and it’s free for the over 60s
Take a break: eyes get tired too. If you are travelling for long periods of time, you should take a break every two hours or every 100 miles, whichever is sooner. This will refresh you and your eyes, keeping you alert
Driving at night can be the most problematic area as our eyes age. No matter how eagle-eyed we may think we are, it is a scientific fact that as we get older our eyes become less sensitive to light. Avoiding nighttime driving is a wise precaution if you are starting to struggle to see clearly after dusk
Keep a pair of sunglasses in the car in all seasons; low sun on a wet road will make you wish you hadn’t packed them away after the summer
Know the law. You must be able to read (with glasses or contact lenses, if necessary) a car number plate made after 1 September 2001 from 20 metres. To find out more information on this visit the government’s driving eyesight rules page here
Use this to test yourself, if you struggle to read it get checked out straight away
Stay hydrated. Water is very good at keeping you hydrated and is also good for your eyes. With the added bonus of helping you maintain concentration while driving and riding
“Deteriorating eyesight can often be a sign of other health problems, so a check-up is a good idea. If you do have eye correction prescribed for driving make sure you use it, not having your glasses is a poor excuse when you have had a crash. And how often do you clean your glasses? Even a pristine windscreen will seem dirty if the lenses are covered in fingerprints.”