Our eyes are 2 of the smallest yet most important bodily features when on the road. With our eyes we do not only read road signs and see the road ahead – we observe all the threats on the road and they allow us to react swiftly in an emergency.
Our eyes are much more important than merely tools to read the stipulations on our car insurance policies. Without clear vision we place the safety of all road users in danger! On the Arrive Alive website we have developed a section of content on “Eye Protection and Road Safety” and I would like to quote from this section:
“Most accidents occur within three seconds of some form of distraction. This includes cell phones, adjusting the radio, dashboard dining, changing the heating or air conditioning, smoking, personal grooming, driving when tired — and sun glare. According to the Vision Council of America, the sun is one of the most overlooked dangers while driving, particularly during the height of morning and afternoon travel. Thousands of people are injured each year, some fatally, as a result of sun glare.
What can we expect from our drivers?
- As a minimum legal requirement, motorists must be able to read a number plate from a distance of 20.5 metres (67 feet) and have a 120 degree wide field of view.
- This test is normally only carried out officially at the time of the driving test itself and research has shown that more than 10 per cent of drivers would fail a driving test if they re-took it today because of poor eyesight.
- It is a driver’s responsibility to ensure that he can pass the number plate test at all times.
- You must also be able to see clearly out of the corners of your eyes, see clearly at night and not have double vision. It’s important to remember that if you fail to meet these visual standards you are breaking the law every time you start your engine.
- If you need to wear prescription glasses to drive, never replace them with non-prescription sunglasses when it is sunny. Instead, get a pair of prescription sunglasses (which need look no different to normal sunglasses) or clip-on lenses over your prescription lenses.
- Every day tens of thousands of motorists drive without their glasses because of vanity, because they have forgotten them, or because they are only driving a short distance.
- No matter what the reason, these people are breaking the law and are a potential danger to themselves and other road users.
- It is a good idea to keep a spare pair of glasses in the vehicle so that you are never tempted to drive illegally without them.
It is important for drivers to be aware of changes in their eyesight and to have a regular eye examination (at least every two years).
When selecting sunglasses, drivers need to consider how they will be used. Wearing driving lenses that are too dark can cause visibility problems when driving from very bright conditions into shady-dark areas; driving into a tunnel could cause complete loss of vision.
Keep in mind that the worst defence in court would be to claim “I could not see”. Many presiding officers / magistrates have emphasized that – if you cannot see – you should not be driving!
We would like to invite all our visitors to gain more awareness about eye care and safety. View the information on the Arrive Alive website and have your eyes checked regularly!