With many people embarking on long journeys to visit friends and family over the Christmas period, we’re urging you not to ignore one key preparation: ensuring your eyes are road-ready.
The warning follows new research which revealed that over a third of people struggle to read road signs while driving, a problem made worse in wintery conditions when visibility is lower and the days get darker earlier. 13% of people in the UK revealed they have never had an eye exam. Driving with poor vision can have disastrous and sometimes fatal consequences with research estimating vision related accidents result in 2,900 casualties each year.
Read our top tips to keep you safe on the road this Christmas:
1. Are you in the over 40 age bracket?
After the age of 40, your eyesight can decline without you even noticing and it’s essential that if you are in this age bracket, or have any concerns about your eyesight, that you have regular eye checks. People sometimes delay going for a test because they’re in denial and may even be scared of losing their licence. It’s hard to accept that your eyesight might have deteriorated, particularly when driving, but don’t take the risk this Christmas.
2. Keep up to date
Regularly check your own eyesight by testing if you can read a number plate from 20 metres away (see guidance notes below). You can get busy at Christmas and getting an eye test can feel like the furthest thing from your mind but you should always wear an up-to-date pair of glasses or contact lenses while driving, if they are needed.
3. Lenses and coatings
Don’t use tinted lenses for night driving and if possible, have an anti-reflection coating on your spectacles. Enquire about our enRoute lenses to reduce glare caused by blue light to aid night driving.
What is the legal responsibility for driving?
A driver of a car or motorbike must be able to read a number plate, with symbols, 79mm high by 50mm wide, from a distance of 20 metres AND a driver should have a visual acuity of at least 6/12 with both eyes open (as checked by your optometrist). This can be done with glasses or contact lenses if you usually wear them. The law also requires drivers to have a wide field of vision, your optometrist will tell you if you may not meet the field of vision standard. Bus and Lorry drivers are required to have a higher standard of vision.
If you are not able to do this, your insurance may be invalidated. Driving with uncorrected defective vision is an offence punishable with a heavy fine, penalty licence points and possible driving disqualification.
The eyesight test involving reading number plates is conducted as part of the driving test. As the law stands however, no further sight checks are needed until the driver reaches the age of 70, so the responsibility lies with you to ensure you wear corrective eyewear if necessary and recommended by your optometrist. Check your vision regularly by reading a number plate from a distance of 20 metres. If you notice any changes, visit your optometrist for an eye examination.
If you are unsure about how good your vision is or have not been for a recent eye test, book an appointment with your optometrist at Taylors.