Keep your eyes safely on the road

Authored by Mary
Posted: Monday, November 16, 2020 - 22:17

Devon drivers have been urged to look after their sight to avoid harming themselves or others.

For Road Safety Week (November 16-22), statistics from Specsavers’ road safety partner charity Brake show that on average people die every day on the UK’s roads and someone is injured every four minutes.

Devon opticians say that poor vision increases a driver’s risk of crashing because it limits their ability to recognise hazards and impacts reaction time.

Hannow Mahmood, an ophthalmic director at the Barnstaple Specsavers store, says: ‘Having good eyesight is one of the most basic requirements of safe driving. It means drivers will be able to spot potential dangers, see pedestrians and other vehicles, read road signs and judge speed, distance and movement. Without this, there can be catastrophic consequences on the road.

‘While an eye test plays a part in being granted your driver’s licence in that you must be able to read a number plate from 20 meters away, eyesight can change over time, especially as we get older. This is why it is so important to have regular eye checks, not only to address any changes in short or long-sightedness but also because an optician can spot sight-threatening conditions that you may not be aware of, such as cataracts, macular degeneration or glaucoma.’

Cyclists and pedestrians face are particularly at risk of being seriously injured on roads.

Joshua Harris, Brake director of campaigns, says: ‘It’s self-evident that one of the fundamentals for safe driving is good eyesight and being able to see the road ahead clearly. The earlier a driver can spot a hazard on the road, the quicker they will be able to stop and avoid a crash. When it comes to safe driving, good eyesight and safe speed go hand in hand, that’s why we’re delighted to be partnering with Specsavers on Road Safety Week 2020 under the theme No Need to Speed.’

Hannow adds: ‘While we want to encourage all drivers to have an up-to-date eye test to ensure that they can see clearly on the road, we also want to help increase pedestrian visibility, which is why many of our stores have been donating high-visibility vests to schools and local community groups.

‘As is evident from the research, vision is vital to help us judge speed and ensure quick reaction times. However, for those who do wear glasses, it is also important to ensure that their lenses are suitable for driving too.’

Devon people having eye tests are urged to make sure they discuss any sight-related difficulties with their optician so that the right lenses can be found to suit needs and lifestyle. For more information on safe driving visit or for information in different lens options.