Sunday 2 December 2012

Duties in the eyes of the beholder

Image Copyright: Alison Killilea
Road safety charity the IAM is offering weekly motoring tips from Britain’s top advanced driver, Peter Rodger. This week he is advising motorists on keeping your eyesight in check when behind the wheel.

IAM chief examiner Peter Rodger said: “Your eyesight will inevitably change as you get older, and usually not for the better. Since the majority of information gathered in order to make decisions while driving is through your eyes, good vision is a necessity.”

Peter offers tips on eyesight and driving:

  • Get your eyes checked regularly by an optician or GP. You are entitled to a free NHS eyesight test every two years, and more frequently if you are above 70 years old. 
  • The law requires motorists to be able to read a car number plate from a distance of 20 metres – If glasses or contact lenses are needed to achieve this, they must be worn at all times when operating your vehicle.
  • If you are diagnosed with a condition which causes vision impairment, you are obligated by law to inform the DVLA. Failure to do so could result in a fine.
  • If you have trouble with night vision or headlight glare, avoid driving outside daylight hours. Older eyes take longer to react to changes in light, lengthening the recovery period after facing dazzling headlights.
  • Peripheral vision is diminished as eyes age - turn your head rather than glancing sideways to compensate for this.
  • Maximise your view by keeping headlights, mirrors, and windshields (inside and out) clean.
  • Increase your range of visibility by upgrading to a larger rear view mirror, as well as a wing blind spot mirror.
He continued: “The deterioration of our eyesight can go unnoticed, a fact which is especially problematic after the age of 40 when the rate of decline increases. Poorer vision can pose an even greater risk during the winter months, with fewer hours of daylight and more challenging weather conditions. Now is the time to book yourself in for an eye test to ensure you’re as safe as you can be when driving your car.”

About the IAM

The IAM is the UK’s largest independent road safety charity, dedicated to improving standards and safety in driving, motorcycling and cycling.

The commercial division of the IAM operates through its occupational driver training company IAM Drive & Survive.

The IAM has more than 200 local volunteer groups and over 100,000 members in the UK and Ireland.

It is best known for the advanced driving test and the advanced driving, motorcycling and cycling courses.

Its policy and research division offers advice and expertise on road safety.

Image courtesy of Alison Killilea on

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