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On the Road with Good Vision

Proper vision is essential for road safety. As a matter of fact, safe driving relies on a number of visual capabilities like distance and near vision, peripheral vision, seeing at night and color vision, plus many others.

Strong distance vision is crucial because of how it helps you to observe the stretch of road in front of you and detect any risks that might come up. This gives you the opportunity to respond quickly and stop an accident from happening. Alternatively, if you struggle with distance vision you might not see the hazards in time to stop an accident.

You also need peripheral or side vision, which allows you to see to the sides of your vehicle, which is needed to be aware of pedestrians, animals and cross traffic without having to even glance away from the road ahead. Strong peripheral vision is also important when switching lanes and turning. Make sure you know how to use both your side and rearview mirrors. Make sure they're adjusted correctly, to enhance your side vision.

Additionally, good depth perception is important for road safety. This lets you judge distances properly in crowded driving conditions, switch lanes and overtake other vehicles. Good depth perception needs adequate sight in both of your eyes. If you've lost visual acuity in one eye, it's advised to check with an optometrist to determine if it is safe for you to get behind the wheel. It may be suggested that you stop driving until a solution is found to correct your vision.

Near vision focusing or the ability to accommodate properly also plays an important role when driving. Accommodating is the ability to move your focus from something in the distance to something in front of you, like from the distance ahead of you to the speedometer. If you've recently hit middle-age it's common for you to have trouble with near vision, and you might need reading glasses or some other corrective device to help you see objects up close. Speak to your eye doctor to talk about the options.

Being able to see color is also pretty important in the car. Drivers need to be able to instantly see traffic lights, street signs and warning lights. If you've got color blindness, your response time may be a little slower than normal. If this is the case, it's best not to wear medium or dark blue sunglasses, as these can seriously interfere with your ability to discern colors.

Try not to hold off until you renew or get your driver's license to get your eyes checked. You don't want to risk your own life or those of the others on the road! If you suspect your eyesight isn't up to par, see your optometrist, and get a proper eye exam as soon as you can.