Driving Safety and Your Eye Health: They Go Hand in Hand

So many drivers are distracted these days when it comes to tuning out the world in order to safely drive their vehicle. What some may not consider, though, is another huge distraction behind the wheel—poor vision. If your vision is limited in any way, your defensive driving capability is hindered, putting the lives of other drivers and passengers on the road in danger.

With May being Healthy Vision Month, it is prime time for drivers to reassess their vision, and overall health, as it relates to driving safety. Not being able to see clearly, having blurry vision, or having difficulty reading a "Stop" sign from a distance can cause accidents that could even lead to injury or death. You don't have to contribute to the statistics; make positive strides in improving roadway safety by ensuring your vision is 20-20, whether that's with or without corrective eyewear. 

Your Driving Health as a Parent

Your health is important in all aspects of your life, and this includes your ability to drive safely. As a parent, it's important to take all steps necessary to ensure your child is ready for their driver's exam. And, this includes the vision portion they're going to take when taking that exam. 

One of the primary components in the vision exam is colorblindness testing. From state to state, the requirements, and what qualifies as "colorblind" varies. For such reason, it's important to understand what qualifies in your state, and what you have to do in order to ensure you're going to be able to pass that portion of your exam. 

Additionally, visual acuity, distance, timing, and reflexes are tested during the eye portion of your driving test. A good way to prepare for this is to go into an eye doctor or take your child in, so they can have an eye test performed by a licensed professional. In some states, if you're simply renewing your license, a form from your doctor is sufficient to constitute a "passing" score on the eye exam. If it's a new license exam, this will prepare you or your teen for what's to come at the DMV when you go in for testing. 

How to Improve Visual Acuity

It's important to remember two key components when sitting in for the vision exam. First is to remember to blink. Blinking lightly helps lubricate the eyes, and helps improve the ability to see clearly. Many people tend to shut their eyes before taking the exam, which can cloud vision or create issues such as dark spots. A second tip is to remember to hydrate prior to the exam. This helps with tear production and lubrication, obviously making it easier for you to see when you go in for your exam. 

Put your Vision to Good (Effective) Use

Visual perception helps drivers improve their ability to react if dangers pop up on the road. When it comes to vision, drivers rely on peripheral and central vision. Central vision covers less than a total of 5% of our entire viewing field. However, this is responsible for our reaction time. As drivers, faster reaction times allows us to make appropriate decisions if dangers pop up. Whether that's swerving/veering out of danger, stopping on a dime, or avoiding a dangerous situation altogether. Peripheral vision is what most consider, side vision. A broader periphery allows drivers to see other vehicles or obstructions on their sides, without turning their head. This, in turn, improves reaction times and allows them to ward off dangers before they affect the driver. 

It's important for drivers to understand how central and peripheral vision work together on the road and know how to combine them to remain as safe as possible behind the wheel. 

How is Vision Examined?

Many drivers fear if they wear corrective glasses or contacts this will hinder their ability to pass the vision exam. That's not the case; in fact, it's important to wear them when going in for testing and inform the DMV that you do wear corrective lenses. Drivers should prepare with and without corrective lenses prior to the exam. You can wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, as long as you inform the DMV examiner in advance. The vision exam isn't meant to trip drivers up or result in failure, it's intended to ensure drivers are as safe as possible behind the wheel. So, taking the vision exam in the same manner as you will be driving, is the best approach to take when going in for your exam.

Drivers ed can help. A drivers ed course can help students prepare for possible obstructions on the road, help them improve peripheral vision, and help them understand obstructions or dangers they might encounter when they get into their car to drive. Parents, consider enrolling your teen in a defensive driving or traditional driver's education course today. In addition to helping them understand what's essential to become a safe driver, it'll prepare them for possible dangers they otherwise wouldn't know about when sitting behind the wheel. 

So, are your eyes ready for your vision exam? Are you 100% confident your eyesight is on point? And, ultimately, are you ready to get behind the wheel and be a safe driver? Make sure the answer is yes! 

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