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How Vision Affects Road Safety

Proper eyesight is essential for safe driving. If you think about it, road safety relies on a combination of a number of different visual abilities such as the ability to see both near and far ahead, side or peripheral vision, night vision and color vision, just to name some examples.

Being able to see well into the distance is highly necessary because of how it lets you observe the road ahead of you and see any dangers that might be present. Most importantly, it gives you a chance to act fast and prevent any mishaps that could take place. On the other hand, if you lack strong distance vision you might not be aware of the hazards soon enough.


Equally as important is peripheral or side vision, which allows you to see both sides of your vehicle, which is necessary to see other cars, animals and pedestrians without needing to look away from the road ahead. Being able to see peripherally is also important when changing lanes and turning. Maximize use of both your rearview and side mirrors. Make sure they're well-positioned, to assist your side vision.

Road safety is also highly dependent on good depth perception. It helps you judge distances correctly in busy driving conditions, switch lanes and pass other cars on the road. Good depth perception requires adequate vision in both of your eyes. If you've lost visual acuity in one eye, it's important to check with an eye doctor to see if it is okay for you to get behind the wheel. You may need to refrain from driving until a solution is found to correct your vision.

Near vision focusing or the ability to accommodate effectively also comes into use when driving. Accommodating is the ability to shift your focus from something in the distance to something near, for example, from the distance ahead of you to the dashboard. For those 45 or older it's common for you to have a slight challenge with near vision, and you might need reading glasses or some other vision correction solution to help you see objects up close. Call your optometrist to discuss the best option.


Don't wait until you renew or apply for your driver's license to have an eye exam. You never want to risk your life or the lives of the others on the road! If you feel your eyesight isn't adequate, visit your optometrist, and have a thorough eye exam right away.