Road Safety GB is supporting a leading ophthalmologist who has urged drivers to ensure they have a clear view of the road as winter weather reduces visibility and increases risk.
David Teenan (pictured above), UK medical director at Optical Express*, says that longer nights, low sun and treacherous weather can significantly impede the sight of drivers – causing temporary blindness in some cases.
Optical Express cites a report published in 2012 by the insurer RSA which estimated that 2,900 casualties annually are caused by drivers with poor vision.
David Teenan said: “Good sight is essential for safe driving, especially in the winter months when the weather brings unique vision challenges.
“Visual acuity and contrast are compromised when there is too little light during dull, overcast days or too much light from low winter sun. If drivers can’t see clearly they risk not only their own lives but those of other road users and pedestrians.”
Mr Teenan, who is a fellow of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, added: “There are many simple things that drivers can do to improve their view of the road, such as keeping their windscreens clean and using their vehicle’s sun visors, but it is essential that drivers also undergo regular eye tests to ensure they can see clearly. Changes in eyesight are gradual and it is possible to lose up to 40% of your vision without noticing.
“Most adults should have their eyes tested once every two years but older drivers need to take greater care. As eyesight problems become more prevalent when we get older the vision of older drivers is more likely to be impaired.”
Iain Temperton, Road Safety GB’s director of communications, said: “It is essential that drivers have their eyesight checked on a regular basis and if required wear corrective lenses to ensure their safety and that of other road users.
“It’s also really important to make sure that the screen wash is topped up and windscreens, windows and lights are clean and free from frost or snow.”
Optical Express was founded in 1991 and is part of the Optical Express Group. The Group’s portfolio includes laser eye surgery, healthcare services and cosmetic surgical and non-surgical treatments, as well as the core optics division of glasses and contact lenses. The Group currently operates in the United Kingdom, United States, Ireland, Croatia, and Germany.