Motoring: Police introduce roadside eyesight tests for UK drivers
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One third of drivers claimed their driving noticeably worsens between November and March because of the dark and sometimes difficult weather conditions. The increased glare from headlights also makes road users less confident when behind the wheel.
A quarter of drivers surveyed admitted to having previously been in a minor collision or bump in the winter months.
Almost half of accidents were due in part to headlight glare, with 23 percent not being able to see objects properly in the dark and 17 percent was due to glare from artificial lighting.
Four in 10 said they avoid driving in the dark in winter if they can, with 30 percent of motorists admitting to cancelling social plans because they didn’t want to drive at night.
Andy Hepworth, vision expert at Essilor.co.uk, said: “Winter can bring some pretty challenging driving conditions and it’s no surprise that people are lacking in confidence – however it is crucial that everyone stays safe.
“To hear that people think their driving worsens is quite alarming but there are factors at play with our eyesight which explain this.
“Quite simply, our vision is not adapted to night-time driving environments, and eye sensitivity is different in the daytime than at night.
“Therefore, driving in the dark, we are exposed to multiple and intense sources of light that create reflections and glare.
“The impact on vision is difficulty in adapting, reduced peripheral vision, decreased contrast sensitivity, increased response time, difficulties in motion perception and navigation issues.”
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With the clocks going back this past weekend, more drivers may be more concerned about driving at night.
Drivers are advised to allow their eyes to adjust to the dark before driving to prevent from being dazzled from bright headlights.
Low light levels cause the pupil of the eye to become larger and this can accentuate any focusing errors – no matter how minor – causing blur.
Rule 237 of the Highway Code states that if drivers are dazzled by bright sunlight, they should “slow down or if necessary stop”.
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