Safe driving largely depends on adequate eyesight. If you think about it, driving safely needs several different visual abilities such as being able to see both far ahead as well as your immediate surroundings, side or peripheral vision, seeing in limited light and color vision, just to name a few.
Strong distance vision is crucial because it helps you to observe the stretch of road in front of you and become aware of any risks that might be present. Being able to see ahead allows you to act fast and stop any accidents that might have otherwise taken place. And on the flip-side, if you lack strong distance vision you might not see the dangers until it's too late.
Distance vision is also directly related to the maintenance of your glasses and windshield, so ensure these are clean and clear of both dust and scratches which can reduce your ability to see clearly, specifically at night and on bright days.
Just as important is peripheral or side vision, which allows you to see to the sides of your vehicle, which is crucial to be aware of pedestrians, animals and cross traffic without needing to even glance away from the road lying ahead. Being able to see peripherally is also crucial for switching lanes and making turns. Maximize use of both your rearview and side mirrors. Make sure they're adjusted correctly, to enhance your view of the road to your sides and back.
Road safety is also highly dependent on good depth perception. It lets you evaluate distances properly in crowded traffic, change lanes and overtake other cars. Strong depth perception needs proper vision in both eyes. If you've lost visual acuity in one eye, it's advised to consult with an eye doctor to see whether it is okay for you to drive. It may be suggested that you stop driving until your vision is corrected to achieve proper depth perception.
Near vision focusing or the ability to accommodate effectively also plays an important role on the road. Accommodating is the capability to shift your focus from something ahead to something near, like from the distance ahead of you to the speedometer. For those 45 or older you might have trouble with near vision, and you might need glasses or some other corrective device to help you see your dashboard. Speak to your optometrist to talk about the options.
It's best not to wait until you renew or apply for your driver's license to have an eye exam. You can't afford to risk your own life or the lives of other people on the road! If you suspect your vision isn't adequate, visit your eye doctor, and have a thorough eye exam right away.