What considerations do people with sight problems need to make when driving?
It’s important to have your sight tested if you think you may have a problem with your eyesight, in fact, studies suggest that up to one in five middle aged drivers are taking to the road knowing their eyesight is not as good as it should be. It is not just common sense to ensure your eyesight is good enough to enable you to drive comfortably, but you will be breaking the law if it isn’t.
What is the legal responsibility?
A driver of a car or motorbike must be able to read a number plate, with symbols, 79mm high by 50mm wide, from a distance of 20 metres AND a driver should have a visual acuity of at least 6/12 with both eyes open. We can tell you if you meet the visual acuity standards which can be done with glasses or contact lenses if you usually wear them. The law also requires drivers to have a wide field of vision. Our visual field screener is DVLA approved and we can carry out a full assessment of your vision driving standards if you have any concerns.
If you are not able to meet the standards your insurance may be invalidated. Driving with uncorrected defective vision is an offence punishable with a heavy fine, penalty licence points and possible driving disqualification.
The eyesight test involving reading number plates is conducted as part of the driving test. As the law stands however, no further sight checks are needed until the driver reaches the age of 70, so the responsibility lies with you to ensure you wear corrective eyewear if necessary. Check your vision regularly by reading a number plate from a distance of 20 metres. If you notice any changes, visit us for an eye examination.
How can people ensure their vision is roadworthy?
Always wear an up-to-date pair of glasses or contact lenses while driving, if they are needed, and go for a regular sight test to make sure your prescription is up to date. It’s a good idea to keep a spare pair of glasses in your vehicle too; in France and some other European countries drivers who wear glasses must, by law, carry a spare pair in the car. We recommend you have an anti-reflection coating on your glasses and keep your car windscreen clean inside and out so you can see as clearly as possible.
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Visit us, we’d love to see you: 4 Central Walk, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 1BS