Visual Fitness to Drive

With each passing year we should gain more experience and greater wisdom. This can mean finding new ways to cope when our senses and physical body start to let us down.. As a driver it is vital to keep a check that your driving vision is the best it can be.

Most drivers believe ;

angel  they are good drivers – it's other road users who are not crying

cool they can see clearly enough to drive safely – they don't factor in that others might not see them surprise

As a qualified driver it is your responsibility to maintain your Driving Visual Fitness. If you are not fit enough then it is your responsibility to do something about it;

–  either book some refresher driving lessons

– or stop driving and make alternative arrangements for getting out and about.


No one would disagree that 'good drivers need good vision' this is why ;-

  •  when you took your driving test the first thing the examiner did was to ask you to read a number plate
  •  your optometrist asks if you drive when checking what you can read on a test chart.

However being able to read a number plate at 20.5 metres and the 6/12 line of a test chart only measures part of your Visual Fitness for Driving. Reading letters is a way to measure your visual acuity – your ability to see small details in the distance using the central part of your visual field. When driving you also need to be aware of changes/movement to your right and left, to do this you use your peripheral vision.

When you are distracted for any reason talking on a mobile, arguing with children in the back sear, checking the sat nav, trying to focus on road signs, singing along to music, etc your mind will be distracted and you will find it;

  • harder to focus on your driving skills,
  • understand what is happening around you
  • make decisions about actions to be made.

Your central vision (acuity) may need to be improved by wearing up-to-date spectacles or contact lenses, this can also help your peripheral vision but your peripheral awareness may benefit from some eye exercises.Too much time spent watching TV or focusing on a computer screen can result in psychological 'tunnel vision' but there are some on-line exercises that can help improve visual awareness and perception. Although these have been designed for young children they still work for more mature eyes and are fun. They may help you pass a driving test or improve your driving awareness.





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