Don't swerve a sight test
Every year there are an estimated 2,900 casualties caused by drivers who have poor vision, according to the Association of Optometrists. A regular sight test – for most people this is every 2 years - can make sure you’re safe to drive and that your insurance is valid.
“Many people are unaware that it’s illegal to drive with poor vision” says Helen Tilley at Monnow Eyecare, “as part of our normal sight tests we’ll be able to confirm that your vision is OK or to advise on a change of prescription if you wear lenses or glasses. Once you are registered with us, we’ll send you a reminder by text, email or post so that you don’t have to remember when your next test is due”.
Police forces are reviewing current practice and 3 forces in England are planning to test every motorist they stop to clamp down on people driving with poor eyesight and to understand the extent of the issue. Drivers who fail a sight test when stopped by police will have their licences revoked immediately in this new crackdown. Sgt Rob Heard, representing the police forces taking part in the campaign, said: "Not being able to see a hazard or react to a situation quickly enough can have catastrophic consequences."
Drivers can do a quick and easy test themselves– you should be able to read a car number plate at a distance of 20 metres, which is about the length of a cricket wicket. If you need glasses or contact lenses to do this, then you should always wear these when driving. If you are a lorry, bus or taxi driver, there are more stringent eyesight rules and tests need to be done every year if you are 60 or over. For a car driver, the DVLA should be notified once you reach 70.
For a motorist involved in an accident, an insurance company will declare your car insurance policy invalid if you are driving with poor vision, so not only are you risking injury to others, it can be an expensive error to make.
The DVLA should also be informed if you are diagnosed with some medical conditions that can affect your eyesight, the most common of these are age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. These may affect your vision and make it unsafe to drive a car.
The Association of Optometrists has produced a video to explain about how you make sure you are safe to drive. Visit their website https://www.aop.org.uk/advice-and-support/for-patients/drive-safely-dont-swerve-a-sight-test to see this.
If you have any questions about your eyesight and safe driving, the optometry team at Monnow Eyecare are all qualified to give you advice and detailed guidance. It’s really easy to make an appointment, you can call in at the practice on Cinderhill Street, Monmouth, telephone us on 01600 715299 or book yourself an appointment online here.