Is your eyesight fit for driving, asks GEM

posted on 23/06/2022

ROAD SAFETY organisation GEM Motoring Assist is encouraging drivers of all ages to ensure they meet the minimum standard for driving. This would make a significant contribution to reducing the 3,000 fatal and serious injury collisions which occur every year on the UK’s roads because of poor eyesight1.

GEM is repeating its warning that the current driver eyesight regulatory system is not fit for purpose and needs to be updated urgently.

GEM chief executive Neil Worth said: “Poor eyesight is linked to nearly 3,000 fatal and serious injury collisions every year1.

“We are concerned that there are too many people driving whose eyesight has deteriorated to an dangerous level. Covid restrictions will have put many people off booking an eye test, but that is no longer a valid excuse.

“We urge everyone to prioritise safety and ensure they have a proper eye examination with an optician every two years. Eye tests allow professionals to identify and correct any problems, meaning the risks of driving are reduced and the road environment is safer.”

GEM is keen to support people who wish to stay behind the wheel for longer. But safety has to be the priority. Under the present regulations, it’s down to individual responsibility for drivers to declare themselves fit to drive.

“The problem is that we are unlikely to notice many of the changes to our vision,” added Neil Worth. “It takes a professional examination to reveal changes to our visual acuity, peripheral awareness, eye coordination, depth perception, ability to focus and colour vision.

“That’s why having an eye test every two years is a key part of being a responsible driver, whatever your age, just to ensure there are no safety concerns about your vision and to deal with any issues at an early stage.”

Eye tests are free to those aged 60 or over, as well as to those aged 16 to 18 and in full time education. For others, an eye test typically costs between £30 and £50.

Top tips for looking after your eyes

To be as safe as possible on the road as a driver, it’s vital to be sure that your vision is good enough.

If your vision has deteriorated, you need to ensure it is corrected by glasses or contact lenses as necessary.

Changes in vision can be so slow that you may not notice. That’s why it’s so important to let a professional give your eyes a thorough examination every two years.

Early signs that your sight may be changing include eye strain, unusual headaches and difficulty in seeing at night or when light conditions change

It’s easy to get an eyesight test at your local optician – it’s inexpensive and you may even qualify for a free test.

Follow GEM on Twitter @MotoringAssist for the latest industry news.

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