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Leave a positive vision behind: tips from IAM RoadSmart

Over time our eyesight deteriorates and previously strong vision can become poor. If eyesight problems are left unaddressed they can often lead to poor reaction times to unexpected hazards or the behaviour of other road users. This week’s tips give advice on eyesight. When riding and driving from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman.

  • Get regular checks. Eyesight can deteriorate over time without you noticing. If you are having to move closer to the television to read the titles clearly or have noticed even a slight deterioration with your eyes, we recommend a visit to the optician for a check-up; after all we should do this on a regular basis (every two years) anyway and its free for the over 60s


  • Take a break, eyes get tired too. If you are travelling for long periods of time you should take a break every two hours or every 100 miles, whichever is sooner. This will refresh you and your eyes keeping you alert


  • Driving at night can be the most problematic area as our eyes age. No matter how eagle-eyed we may think we are, it is a scientific fact that as we get older our eyes become less sensitive to light. Avoiding night time driving is a wise precaution if you are starting to struggle to see clearly after dusk


  • Keep a pair of sunglasses in the car in all seasons; low sun on a wet road will make you wish you hadn’t packed them away after the summer


  • Know the law. You must be able to read (with glasses or contact lenses, if necessary) a car number plate made after 1 September 2001 from 20 metres. To find out more information on this visit the government’s driving eyesight rules page here


  • Use this to test yourself, if you struggle to read it get checked out straight away


  • Stay hydrated. Water is very good in keeping you hydrated and is also good for your eyes.With the added bonus of helping you maintain concentration while driving and riding

Richard said: “Deteriorating eyesight can often be a sign of other health problems so a check-up is a good idea. If you do have eye correction prescribed for driving make sure you use it, not having your glasses is a poor excuse when you have had the accident. As a little aside how often do you clean your glasses? Even a pristine windscreen will seem dirty if the lenses are covered in fingerprints.”

  1. Richard Gladman is IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards.
  2. IAM RoadSmart has a mission to make better drivers and riders in order to improve road safety, inspire confidence and make driving and riding enjoyable. It does this through a range of courses for all road users, from online assessments through to the advanced driving and riding tests. IAM RoadSmart is the trading name of all businesses operated by the UK’s largest road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and was formed in April 2016 combining the IAM, IAM Drive & Survive, PDS and IAM Driver Retraining Academy. The organisation has 92,000 members and campaigns on road safety on their behalf. At any one time there are over 7,000 drivers and riders actively engaged with IAM RoadSmart’s courses, from members of the public to company drivers, while our Driver Retraining Academy has helped 2,500 drivers to shorten their bans through education and support programmes.

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