How to make sure your eyesight is safe for driving
Advice from road safety charity
More than half of UK drivers (54%) believe they don’t need glasses or lenses to drive – yet it’s estimated that up to five million UK drivers would fail a number-plate test if they had to take it again.
So how do you know if your eyesight is safe for driving? Here is some important advice from the road safety charity, Brake.
If you drive, regular visits to the opticians are essential to ensure your eyesight meets legal standards and you're not putting yourself and others at risk. You should get your eyes checked by an optician at least every two years or straight away if you notice any problems. Don't be tempted to put it off - most vision problems are easily corrected, and the sooner you know the problem, the sooner it can be fixed.
Going to the optician needn't be expensive and may be free - eye sight tests are free in the UK if you are under 16, over 60, claiming certain benefits, or have certain medical conditions. Check the NHS website to see if you qualify. Many high street opticians also run promotions offering free or cheap tests. If you regularly use computer screens at work, you are entitled to ask your employer to pay for your eye tests.
If your optician or GP mentions any problems with your vision or health conditions that could affect it, let them know if you drive and ask if your vision is at risk of falling below minimum safe standards. Visit www.gov.uk/health-conditions-and-driving to find out what conditions must be reported.
If you need glasses or lenses you must always wear them when driving, even on short journeys. Keep a spare pair of glasses in your vehicle if you're prone to forget them.
Dr Nigel Best, clinical spokesperson for Specsavers, which is working with Brake to change the law on driver sight tests, said: "It’s important that we all recognise the importance of regular eye examinations and the role that they play in keeping both drivers and pedestrians safe on the roads.
“Currently eye sight is only tested once, on the day of the driving test. It is then the driver's responsibility to check whether their vision remains above the legal standard. Because eyesight deteriorates gradually over time, the only way a driver can be 100% certain that they remain both legal and safe is to have regular eye examinations."
What do you think about the current system? Do you agree it should be changed?
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