When it comes to the senses, your eyesight is clearly one of the most important for driving. Your eyesight needs to be above the minimum standard for safe driving at all times: but how can you tell if it is?
This summer, the DVLA has brought us the ‘number plate test’, a quick and easy way to make sure you meet the minimum eyesight standards required for safe driving. ‘Eye 735T’ shows how easy it is for drivers to check their eyesight using the 20 metres test. This includes being able to accurately read a number plate from a distance of 20 metres.
All you need to do is work out what 20 metres look like. Stand behind 6 cars parked lengthways on the roadside, and if you can clearly read the number plate of the 6th car you’ve passed the test! You can also calculate 20 metres by walking it out in steps. For men this is typically 26 steps; for women it is around 33.
Of course, eyesight is particularly important when driving in the dark. Our analysis of over 4 billion miles of driving data has revealed that the accident risk for the under 25s increases three-fold when driving at night. And nearly half of all Accident Alerts (43%) are recorded after 5 pm, with drivers who trigger Accident Alerts between midnight and 5am six times more likely to require the emergency services.
So do the 20 metre test now – and if you have any concerns at all visit an optician as soon as possible. As Dr Wyn Parry, DVLA’s Senior Doctor, said: “Having good eyesight is essential for safe driving, so it’s really important for drivers to have regular eye tests. Eyesight can naturally deteriorate over time so anyone concerned about their eyesight should visit their optician – don’t wait for your next check-up.”