It comes as no surprise that good eyesight is crucial for safe driving. Your vision is key to responding quickly to potential hazards, judging distances, and reading road signs. If it’s poor, not only is your life in danger, but also the lives of those around you.
Your eyesight changes over time, often getting worse with age. There comes a point when many people need to seriously assess whether their eyesight is good enough for them to drive safely. But how should this be judged? How do you know if your eyesight is too poor for driving?
If you employ others to drive vehicles for your business, it’s crucial that you’re aware of the importance of eyesight checks for your drivers.
An easy way to gain a clear understanding of your eye health and vision is to get an eye test. Most people have had an eye examination before and if you already have glasses or wear contact lenses, you’ll be familiar with the process.
The best thing you can do to ensure your eyesight is good enough to be on the road is to get an eye test at least every two years, and more frequently if possible. If your optician advises you to have even more regular eye tests, then you should get tested as per their recommendation.
If you’ve noticed a sudden change in your vision or are concerned about it, don’t wait until your next booked appointment to get it checked out. Make an appointment as soon as possible.
What will an eye test tell you? If you don’t meet the minimum eyesight standard, UK government advice states that you must stop driving and tell the DVLA. This is to protect your safety and that of others on the road.
What eyesight standards are there for driving?
Every driver (with or without glasses or contact lenses) must be able to read a car number plate made after 1st September 2001 from 20 metres away (the equivalent of five parked cars or two double decker buses), in good daylight. If you can’t complete this exercise, then you should not be driving.
This is a great indicator of the quality of your eyesight and can be done anytime you’re out driving on the road!
A DVLA survey suggests that under 50% of motorists know that they must be able to read a number plate from 20 metres. If you’re a business owner, are you aware that your drivers must meet this standard?
If you’re a driver, you should also have an adequate field of vision (ask your optician about this) and meet the minimum eyesight standard for driving by having a visual acuity of at least decimal 0.5 (6/12) measured on the Snellen scale. This should be done using both eyes or one eye if you only have sight in one. Of course, this can be done with glasses or contact lenses.
Be aware that there are additional standards for lorry and bus drivers.
Driving safely with poor eyesight
If you know that you have poor eyesight, you’ve probably had confirmation from your optician and now wear glasses. If you haven’t got round to getting glasses, it’s crucial that you do this before you start driving. Driving without glasses or contact lenses when you know that you have poor vision can be extremely unsafe.
Ensure you wear your glasses every time you drive to reduce your risk of having an accident or causing injury to others. You are also obliged to wear your glasses to meet the government’s ‘standards of vision for driving’ previously discussed.
At DriverCheck, we can help you ensure that your employees and their vehicles are fully compliant. Conduct online driving license checks through our online portal and keep your business as risk-free as possible. We’re proud to be winners of the ‘Best Fleet Compliance Platform – UK and Ireland’ award at the UK Transport Awards. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.