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Vision and Driving

Driver Safety

I recently attended an AARP Driver Safety course.  I wanted the discount I could receive on my auto insurance, but really didn’t know how much I would learn in the course. In fact, I took along some hard candies because I thought they would help me stay awake during the class. Actually, I was pleasantly surprised.

I found the class to be engaging and informative. It was geared toward senior drivers, and the information gave me several issues to consider. I recalled situations from my own road experiences that directly related to the topics that were covered.

Though it’s not possible, in this short article, to cover all the information we discussed, I’d like to mention some important points. In particular, Vision. I’ll include a link for further review at the bottom of the article.

As we age, we become more sensitive to bright sunlight and glare conditions. At the same time, driving at night becomes more difficult because we receive less light into our eyes.  Also, depth perception and peripheral vision decrease as we age, making it more difficult to judge distance and speeds. And, of course, older drivers may have conditions such as cataracts and glaucoma.

Here are the vision tips discussed in our class:

Editor’s note: The following was taken from page 14 of Unit 2 of the AARP Driver Safety Workbook.

“In general:

  • Have regular eye examinations by a licensed ophthalmologist or optometrist.
  • Ask if you should get separate glasses for day and night driving.
  • Ask about anti-reflective coatings to reduce glare and improve night vision.
  • Don’t use eyeglass frames with wide heavy temples ( side pieces); they may restrict side vision.
  • Reduce driving at night, dusk, or dawn, when visibility is more difficult.
  • Use caution driving in rain, fog, or when snow or ice is present.

 

Before you drive:

  • Make sure your windshield and windows ( inside and out), headlights and tail lights are clean at all times.
  • Wear clean corrective lenses or contacts with an up-to-date prescription.
  • Make sure your mirrors are properly adjusted.
  • Have a mechanic check to see if your headlights are properly adjusted so they light the road properly and they don’t cause glare for other drivers.

 

While driving:

  • Watch for parked vehicles, cyclists, pedestrian, children and animals, especially those in your side vision.
  • Use extra caution when turning left and trying to judge the speed/distance of oncoming vehicles.
  • Choose roads that are well-lit; avoid poorly lit areas.
  • Have a good pair of sunglasses handy for daytime glare situations.
  • Don’t wear sunglasses or dark or tinted glasses at night, dusk, or dawn unless prescribed by an eye doctor.
  • Drive more slowly at night and avoid looking directly into headlights of approaching vehicles; look slightly to the right.”

 

For more information about AARP Driver Safety, go to aarp.org/drive_safety

 

 

Good advice for all. Drive safely out there!