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Located on North Main Street across from the Va. Tech campus

Located on North Main Street across from the Va. Tech campus

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Home » News and Events » How Vision Affects Road Safety

How Vision Affects Road Safety

When on the road, the value of good vision can not be underestimated. In fact, safety on the road requires several different visual abilities - for example, distance and near vision, side or peripheral vision, night vision and color vision, to name some examples.

Distance vision is crucial because of how it lets you scan the stretch of road ahead and spot any risks that might be present. Being able to see ahead gives you more time to react early and stop any accidents. And on the flip-side, if your distance vision is poor you may not see the dangers in time to stop an accident.

You also need peripheral or side vision, which allows you to see the sides of your car, which is necessary to see pedestrians, animals and cross traffic without having to look away from the road ahead. Being able to see peripherally is also crucial when changing lanes and making turns. Use both your rearview and side mirrors. Ensure they're adjusted correctly, to enhance your view of the road to your sides and back.

Additionally, good depth perception is important for road safety. This lets you evaluate distances correctly in crowded traffic, switch lanes and overtake other vehicles on the road. Good depth perception requires proper vision in both of your eyes. If one lacks proper vision in one eye, it's advised to consult with your eye doctor to see whether it is okay for you to get behind the wheel. It may be suggested that you refrain from driving until a solution is found to correct your vision.

Near vision focusing or being able to accommodate instantly also plays an important role on the road. Accommodating is the capability to move your focus from something far to something in front of you, like from the distance ahead of you to the dashboard. If you've recently hit middle-age you might have a slight challenge with near vision, and it's normal to require reading glasses or another vision correction solution to make it easier to see objects up close. Make an appointment with your eye doctor to talk about the best option.

Being able to see color is also pretty important in the car. Those in the driver's seat need to be able to quickly see traffic lights, road signs and hazard lights. If you've got a color vision defect, reaction time could be a little slower than that of others. If this is the case, avoid using medium or dark colored sunglasses, as these can restrict your ability to identify colors.

At the first sign of vision problems, think about how it affects your ability to drive. You can't afford to endanger your life or those of the others on the road! If you feel your vision isn't perfect, make an appointment with your optometrist, and have a proper eye exam right away.