Good visibility is essential for participating safely in traffic. We all know that. Independent research commissioned by glasses brand Pearle Opticians shows that approximately 20% of motorists and electric cyclists say they cannot see clearly when driving, even though they wear glasses or lenses.
In addition, a quarter of motorists who wear glasses or lenses sometimes get behind the wheel without these aids, although this is officially not allowed.
The survey also shows that of all the respondents who regularly get behind the wheel of a car, 8% have never had an eye measurement. Half of them say they do not think it is necessary. Only 31% of surveyed drivers with glasses or contact lenses said they last did an eye test more than two years ago.
Danger on the road due to bad vision was experienced by no less than 26% of motorists in the past six months. It is also striking that more than 80% consider driving without glasses or lenses to be dangerous, while 64% indicate they consider it unsafe to drive a car after two glasses of beer.
One in three drivers with spectacles or lenses even waits too long before taking a new eye measurement. Of all the respondents who regularly drive a car, 8% said they never had an eye test, and half said they didn’t feel it was necessary.
Regular eye measurement
Therefore, the Dutch safety traffic organization Veilig Verkeer Nederland advises that everybody should check their eyes every two years, not only in case of complaints. More than 60% of the people who wear glasses and lenses have their visual acuity changed unnoticed every two years, while they only have their eyes measured once every three years. Therefore, a regular eye measurement should be just as much a matter of course as the usual dental check-up.
Drivers who wear glasses can also improve their own safety and that of other road users by keeping a (spare) pair of glasses in the car, for example, or buying (polarised) sunglasses for the low sun. There are even special car glasses for better visibility in fog or night glasses to prevent glare in the dark.
Required physical fitness
According to the Belgian Highway Code, as a driver, you must have the required physical fitness, knowledge, and skills. In addition, during the theoretical driving license examination, you must take a reading test, which is intended to give an indication of your eyesight. If you do not pass this test, you must go to an ophthalmologist.
When issuing a type 1 driving license (category A or B), you must also sign a certificate of driving suitability.
Professional drivers must, in any case, have a certificate of fitness to drive issued by an ophthalmologist or an occupational health service. This certificate is valid for five years. They must be rechecked every five years until the age of 50 and every three years after that.
The eyes provide 90% of all driving information. Therefore, poor vision is directly related to poor driving. In addition, impaired driving due to poor vision manifests in a delayed reaction to signals, road signs, and traffic events that can lead to an accident.
It is estimated that more than 5% of all traffic accidents worldwide are caused by poor vision. Other sources indicate that 20% of road accidents are due to eyesight problems.