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Behind the Wheel with Good Vision

Road safety depends largely on proper vision. If you think about it, staying safe on the road needs several different visual capabilities - for example, the ability to see both near and far ahead, side or peripheral vision, seeing at night and color vision, plus many others.

Being able to see well into the distance is very important because of how it helps you to scan the stretch of road ahead of you and spot any danger that might be present. Being able to see ahead allows you to respond quickly and avoid an accident from happening. And on the flip-side, if you don't see ahead well you may not be able to see dangers in time to stop an accident.

Distance vision is also directly related to the condition of your glasses and windshield, so check that both are clean and free of dust and scratches which can inhibit your sight, mostly at night and on bright days.

You also need peripheral or side vision, which allows you to see either side of your vehicle, which is necessary to be aware of pedestrians, animals and cross traffic without needing to even glance away from the road ahead. Strong peripheral vision is also crucial when changing lanes and making turns. Maximize use of your side and rearview mirrors. Ensure they're angled properly, to assist your view of the road to your sides and back.

Additionally, good depth perception is important for road safety. It allows you to judge distances accurately in dense driving conditions, change lanes and pass other vehicles on the road. Accurate depth perception calls for proper vision in both of your eyes. If one lacks proper vision in one eye, it's advised to consult with your optometrist to see if it is okay for you to get behind the wheel. You may need to stop driving until a solution is found to correct your vision.

Accommodation also keeps you in good stead on the road. If you're unfamiliar with the term accommodating, it is the ability to move your focus from something in the distance to something close, such as from the road to the speedometer. If you're over the age of 45 you might have a slight challenge with near vision, and you might need glasses or some other corrective device to help you see objects up close. Speak to your eye doctor to talk about the best option.

Don't wait until you renew or get your driver's license to make sure your vision is in check. You don't want to endanger your life or those of others on the road! If you feel your eyesight isn't adequate, visit your eye doctor, and get a thorough eye exam as soon as you can.