The importance of vision when driving


Drivers can attend every training course available but if there is a problem with their eyesight, it may not help. Studies say up to 80% of crashes could be avoided with better vision. This is because approximately 90% of the stimulus a person uses to drive safely is collected through their vision. Now imagine a driver with significantly reduced vision driving your 18-wheeler.



Visual acuity and depth perception

Visual acuity and depth perception have the greatest affect on your vision when driving. The MD of Masterdrive, Eugene Herbert, says visual acuity refers to the sharpness of a driver’s vision. “Your visual acuity affects your ability to judge space and distance between objects or yourself and an object. You use this vision to judge whether it is safe to move into another lane in traffic. Visual acuity is also important to clearly see road signs, animals, pedestrians and cyclists.

“Peripheral vision is also affected by visual acuity. This is your total field of perception which you see without moving your head or eyes. When you are stationary you have a 180° horizontal field of vision and a 130° vertical field of vision. Yet, when moving at 100kph your visual field is only 40°. To see outside of your peripheral range you need to be stimulated with a movement which is why indicator lights flash,” says Herbert.

Depth perception is what you use to determine the length, width and height of an object. Your depth perception helps you maneuver around cars without bumping into them. Depth perception is also very important to determine how fast an object is moving. You use depth perception when crossing roads or when moving onto the opposite side of the road to overtake.

It is clear how dangerous a loss in visual acuity or depth perception is on the roads. “It is for this reason that we are emphasising the importance of testing vision along with training to create safe drivers. We understand many factors affect a person’s driving and we hope increasing focus on vision when driving will help us in our drive to improve road safety,” says Herbert.

Could it be true? Glasses which are specially designed for driving

A German company has developed lenses which are optimised for safe and comfortable driving. Watch the video below to see what these lenses can do or call Modern Eyes Optometrists on 011 682 2445



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