Road Safety Week

Road Safety Week image

Road Safety Week

This week it’s Road Safety Week and here at Valli Opticians we are thinking about the part your eyes play in road safety. It’s common sense to make sure your eyesight is good enough to enable you to drive safely and comfortably, and to be honest you’re breaking the law if it isn’t.

Past studies have suggested that as many as one in five middle aged drivers are getting behind the wheel knowing that their eyesight is not as good as it should be.

In the UK the law is very clear.  Any driver of a car or a motorbike must be able to read, (with glasses or contact lenses if they wear them) in good daylight, a number plate with symbols 97.4mm (three inches) high from a distance of 20.5 metres. Also Visual acuity (with the aid of glasses or contact lenses, if worn) must be at least 6/12 with both eyes open.

If you are unable to do this, your insurance may be invalidated. Driving with uncorrected defective vision is an offence and is punishable with a heavy fine, penalty licence points or even driving disqualification.

An eyesight test involving reading number plates is conducted as part of the driving test. However the law currently requires no further sight tests until the driver reaches the age of 70.

Some people become gradually short sighted, meaning that they cannot see clearly in the distance.  This most commonly happens from mid teens up to mid-twenties, but it can happen at other times too. We recommend that you regularly check your vision by reading a number plate from a distance of 20.5 metres, or better still, visit your optometrist regularly for an eye test.

Once drivers and everyone else for that matter, reach their late 30s and early 40s eye sight can start to deteriorate. For this reason it is vital that those, particularly in this age group go for regular eye tests, whether they wear spectacles or not.

Top tips for drivers to keep everyone on the road safe:

  • Always wear an up-to-date pair of glasses or contact lenses while driving, if needed.

  • Keep a spare pair of glasses in your vehicle. Did you know that in France and some other European countries drivers who wear glasses must, by law, carry a spare pair in the car.

  • Don’t use tinted lenses or sunglasses for night driving.

  • Have an anti-reflection coat on your glasses.

  • Keep your car windscreen clean, inside and out.

Do you have glaucoma?

If you drive a car and you have been diagnosed with glaucoma in both eyes, this will affect the amount you can see. The law states that you must tell the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority). You may have to take some extra tests, but most people are still allowed to carry on driving.  You can find out more at

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