Driving Home for Christmas
Now that winter is here, many of us know to prepare our vehicles for colder weather and darker nights, but few people stop to consider whether their eyes are road ready, especially when embarking on longer drives during the holiday season. As Christmas day falls on a Monday, it is expected that millions of us across the UK will be taking to the roads to visit family and friends over the weekend prior to the festive period. We urge you to be fully prepared for any winter driving and recommend ensuring that your eyes are fully road-ready.
New research has shown that over a third of people have difficulty reading road signs while driving. This problem becomes worse in the winter, as visibility is lower and we spend more time driving in the dark. You may also struggle to see clearly as your pupils become larger in low lighting, and your depth of field decreases when your pupils are large.
Driving during the daytime can also be dangerous. As the sun is lower in the sky, sunlight can create glare on icy roads which makes it more difficult for drivers, even when their vision is good. The College of Optometrists has stated that an estimated 2,900 casualties on the road each year are a disastrous result of vision-related accidents. In an effort to change this, we have a list of top tips to help you stay safe while driving this winter:
- Make sure your windscreen is completely clean, both inside and out, to reduce glare.
- Keep a pair of sunglasses in the car to help with low sunlight. If you wear prescription glasses you can also request prescription sunglasses. This includes bifocals and varifocals.
- Make sure you have regular eye checks. If you are due an eye test, make sure you attend an appointment. This is especially important for drivers over the age of 40, as your eyesight can begin to decline without you noticing.
- Do the number plate test. You can self-check your own eyesight by seeing if you can read a car number plate from 20 metres away, just don’t forgo a trip to your local optician!
- Always wear an up-to-date prescription if you wear glasses or contact lenses when driving.
- Avoid wearing tinted lenses for night driving where possible, and have an anti-reflection coating on your lenses is possible.
You can find out more by visiting your local optician and asking about what is available. Some lenses such as the KODAK Drive Lens are specifically designed to reduce glare and improve visual acuity when driving at nighttime. You can find your local KODAK Lens optician by clicking here.