How important is your vision for driving really?

Cars are pretty big, so are people. It’s not that difficult to point out a car across the road for most people, even without their glasses on. Then why all the fuss?

We all know that seeing other cars coming is important, as is seeing signs and knowing where you are going. We all consider the worst-case scenario where someone steps out in front of our car, but surely, we will see them too? The answer is probably yes. The reason seeing well is important comes down to stopping distances. A stopping distance is made up of the thinking distance and the braking distance. Thinking distance is all about reaction times and is the important part involving your vision. It is suggested across several studies that our reaction time to pressing the brake can be anywhere between 0.7 - 3.0 seconds. Meaning that at 30mph you could have travelled anywhere between 9 - 40 metres (30 - 131 ft) before even pressing the brake! So, driving vision in this sense gives us the opportunity to be stopping 1m in front of someone or something, rather than 1m beyond them. So, how do we maximise our driving vision? There are a few problem areas worth consideration. 

1. Straight forward clarity of vision - by wearing spectacles, be they varifocals or distance glasses, you can make sure you are legal to drive and get your vision as sharp as possible. 

2. Low winter sun or bright summers - Any driver knows that occasional feeling of glare that makes it difficult to see anything when the sun is low. Lots of this light is due to the reflections that low sun causes, which is why the cars sun visor doesn’t always help. Polarised sunglasses block this reflected light to give much more comfortable vision. These can be made with your spectacle prescription and are also excellent as general sunglasses. 

3. Night driving and Xenon & LED headlights - They’re lovely if your car has them, but not always so nice coming towards you. Special driving lenses created with these headlights in mind take the edge off these bright blue lights and aim to increase contrast while night driving. They can be made with or without a spectacle prescription from your Opticians.

There are specific legal limits to driving vision, so always make sure you can achieve these standards before driving. You can find them here https://www.gov.uk/driving-eyesight-rules  


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