Drivers overlooking poor vision

Nearly two million UK drivers have vision below the legal standard.

Studies show that 1.8 million drivers are on the roads with eyesight below what is legally acceptable, and that nearly 3,000 casualties each year involve a driver with poor vision.

To launch Road Safety Week (20-26 November), Brake is aiming to raise awareness of the issue.

Stephen Hannan, clinical services director at Optical Express said, ‘Good eyesight is an essential requirement for safe driving. Drivers with poor vision increase their risk of collisions due to not seeing hazards and their inability to react in time to driving hazards. A number of drivers are also unaware they actually have a vision impairment and as a result never seek or receive the proper vision correction or treatment they need.

‘Dark evenings and poor weather conditions can also result in reduced visibility, meaning drivers should be even more cautious of conditions and other road users during dark wet winter evenings. It is imperative that members of the public who hold a driving licence have an eye examination, in order to make sure they meet the necessary requirements. For some, a repeat examination would be recommended on an annual basis with the majority being every two years.’

Road users by law must be able to read a number plate from 20 meters away, with glasses or contact lenses if required.

Stephen added, ‘Our eyesight changes over time, so passing the sight test when you first passed your driving test doesn’t necessarily mean your sight is still up to standard. It is a very important public safety matter in the interest of the individual driver and the general public, as well as being a legal requirement before driving a car. Plus, with free eye tests widely available with purchase, it’s easy to get your eyesight checked on a regular basis.’