Passing the eye test required to renew your license may legally qualify you to drive, but being at or above the legal limit doesn’t always mean you’ll be safe on the road. Getting your eyes tested and using common sense to maintain eye health is a more reliable way to ensure you’re clear to be behind the wheel.
Reduce the Risk to Yourself and Others
Eye tests for driving are about more than just meeting a minimum requirement. Poor eyesight affects your ability to read road signs, gauge the distance of your vehicle from surrounding traffic and recognize road markings. Certain conditions can cause hazy or partial vision, reducing reaction time and increasing the risk of an accident. When you can’t see, it’s easy to get distracted and miss signs of danger. This lack of concentration puts other drivers in harm’s way and could have disastrous consequences.
Mind Your Night Vision
Having poor eyesight is also a problem at night. Even in well-lit areas, it’s much harder to see the lines on the road. Glare from headlights can obscure traffic signs, and slow recovery reduces your ability to control your car and monitor nearby vehicles.
If you find you only have difficulty seeing at night, get an eye test right away. Some eye diseases, including cataracts, manifest with night vision symptoms. You may need corrective surgery, or it could simply be a matter of changing the strength of your glasses or contacts.
Wear Your Glasses
You don’t remove corrective lenses to take the eye exam for your driver’s license, so you shouldn’t leave them behind when you drive. Keep a spare pair of glasses in the glove compartment just in case you leave the house without your regular pair or something happens to your contacts. Deciding to drive without visual correction is the same as driving with any other impairment and makes you liable for accidents or incidents resulting from your negligence.
Schedule Regular Eye Checkups
Having an annual checkup with your eye doctor keeps you informed of your eye health and can catch degenerative conditions in the early stages before symptoms begin to threaten your ability to drive. Don’t skip these appointments, and go back sooner if your eye doctor feels it’s necessary.
Chances are, if you’re taking good care of your eyes, all your annual checkup will reveal is the usual change in vision most people experience as they age. Changes don’t indicate disease and, as long as you stay current with your prescription, won’t affect driving performance.
Whether or not eye tests are mandatory to renew a driver’s license in your area, having your vision checked on a regular basis is still important. Routine visits to the eye doctor could mean the difference between an accident and safe arrival at your destination. Your eye health affects you and everyone on the road around you, so be smart about monitoring your vision.
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