Ensuring that your eyesight is in tip-top shape for driving

It is your responsibility to ensure that you can pass the number plate test at all times…

It’s obvious that your eyes are your most important driving senses on the road but are you doing enough to keep them in check?

Arrive Alive notes that it is important to identify factors that place strain on your eyes and that reduce your ability to observe on the road, such as glare from sunlight.

“Every day we are exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Most of the time we don’t even realise it, as UV radiation is invisible to the eye. Over time UV radiation can cause severe damage to the eyes. Fortunately, this damage can be prevented by wearing sunglasses,” says Arrive Alive.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you can pass the number plate test at all times

Below is an outline of what is expected from drivers in order to ensure that your vision is in tip-top shape on the roads…

  • 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.