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Your Optometrists in the Santa Cruz area!

Your Optometrists in the Santa Cruz area!

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How Vision Affects Driving

Proper vision is required for safe driving. If you think about it, safe driving needs a number of visual abilities including being able to see both far ahead as well as your immediate surroundings, side or peripheral vision, seeing in limited light and color vision, to name a few.

Being able to see well into the distance is vital because it helps you to observe the road in front and become aware of any dangers that might appear. This allows you to act fast and prevent any mishaps that could take place. And on the flip-side, if your distance vision is poor you might not see dangers soon enough.

Distance vision is also influenced by the condition of your windshield and glasses (including sunglasses), so make sure these are kept very clean and scratch-free which can reduce your sight, especially when it's dark or sunny.

You also need peripheral vision, which allows you see the sides of your vehicle, which is needed to spot pedestrians, animals and cross traffic without having to even glance away from the road lying ahead. Being able to see peripherally is also crucial for switching lanes and turning. Make sure you know how to use your rearview and side mirrors. Make sure they're well-positioned, to help your view of the road to your sides and back.

Additionally, good depth perception is important for road safety. It helps you evaluate distances correctly in dense traffic, switch lanes and pass other vehicles on the road. Strong depth perception needs adequate functioning in both of your eyes. If one lacks proper vision in one eye, it's important to check with your eye doctor to determine whether it is safe for you to get behind the wheel. It may be suggested that you refrain from driving until a solution is found to correct your vision.

Accommodation also plays an important role when driving. If you're unfamiliar with the term accommodating, it is the ability to shift your focus from a view in the distance to something near, such as from the distance ahead of you to the dashboard. For those 45 or older you might have increasing difficulty with near vision, and it might be helpful for you to get reading glasses or another corrective device to make it easier to see your dashboard. Make an appointment with your optometrist to talk about the best option.


At the first sign of vision problems, think about how it affects your ability to drive. You can't afford to endanger your life or those of others on the road! If you think your vision isn't perfect, see your optometrist, and get a proper eye exam right away.