Is Your Eyesight Up To Scratch?

A recent article in the Telegraph highlighted just how important maintaining a sound level of eyesight is in regards to our ability to drive safely.

The article says that:

At 70mph in the centre lane of a motorway, I suddenly notice that something is wrong. It’s like peering through mist as I squint at what might be a row of cones, or perhaps roadworks, 300 yards ahead. Too late I realise it’s a slow-moving queue of traffic and, before I have time to react, one of the vehicles veers out in front.

I yank the steering wheel of the Honda Civic and swerve into the outside lane. No damage done, but it’s a shocking near miss.

“Test drive over,” I’m told. “Bring the car to a gradual halt.” Fortunately this isn’t for real, although my thumping heart tells me otherwise. I have been “driving” a simulator at the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) in Berkshire.

The Test Continues

Thirty minutes earlier it seemed easy as I drove along the same motorway without mishap. On this second trip, however, my usual 20/20 vision has been “corrected” to the legal minimum (the level at which Britain’s 31 million drivers are allowed to drive, the standard required during the basic L-test eyesight test) by an optometrist, using eye examination lenses.

I now feel as though I’m driving half-blind and my confidence has plummeted. It’s harder to stay in lane, harder to tell what’s going on ahead – and leads to that high-speed incident.

Test Number 3

In the third test my eyesight is further adjusted to just below the legal minimum to simulate the vision experienced by untold numbers of motorists who either don’t bother to wear glasses or lenses, or who simply don’t realise how much their eyesight has diminished over the years.

The effect is alarming. The mist I found so disconcerting earlier has turned to fog, roadside signs are far harder to read and looming queues of traffic even harder to spot. A blue hatchback swerves in front and a glancing blow sends me ricocheting into the outside lane. It’s a relief as I switch off.

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For more on this story, including some alarming statistics, please visit – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/cars/features/driving-test-eyesight-why-its-time-to-take-another-look/

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