Driving Safely in Winter

As the days shorten and the sun is lower at dawn and dusk, the Autumn/Winter months can be challenging for drivers.

Navigating the sun’s changing position is difficult because sunlight spreads over a larger area causing a cloud of glare to the point where drivers can’t see anything ahead.

With international border closures and snap state border closures still on the horizon, domestic road trips are becoming more popular, putting more drivers on unfamiliar roads.

So whether you are driving in your daily routine or long distance for a city escape, clear and comfortable vision is important to keep you, passengers and other road users safe during both day and night driving and  changeing weather conditions.


Common Vision Problems Drivers Face in Winter and How We Can Help Reduce the Effects

NIGHT DRIVING

Difficulty reading road signs at night, halos around lights, loss of confidence for night driving

You may have longsightedness, shortsightedness or astigmatism which are all easily corrected with glasses.  Mild prescriptions are usually not required for day driving because there is plenty of light but can become problematic at night requiring glasses or contacts to be worn only for night driving.

Glare from oncoming headlights and seeing multiple images of the headlights

Wearing your full prescription in a good quality lens with an anti-glare coating that reduces lateral reflections not just front-on light.

TEMPORARY LOSS OF VISION DUE TO STRONG GLARE

The suns rays are much lower in winter especially early to mid morning and pre-dusk.  Polarised sunglasses will reduce blinding glare allowing you to see pedestrians and cars clearly.

What colour polarised lens is best for driving?

Luckily, drivers have multiple lens colour options.

BROWN gives clear vision in all light conditions and improves depth perception.  You will see just as clearly on a bright sunny day as an overcast day through your car windscreen.  BROWN highlights greenery so if you do long drives through rainforests and national parks, this is a good choice.

GREY is a neutral colour and is the strongest against glare in very bright conditions like open road.

GREEN is great for low-light conditions or overcast and gloomy days.  It provides the clearest vision when driving through tunnels and car parks.

A good quality poalrised lens like MAUI JIM will ensure enough daylight transmits through the lens to enhance clarity while reducing light scattering which causes driver visual confusion.

DIFFICULTY JUDGING THE SPEED AND POSITION OF ONCOMING CARS

Poor depth perception causes this.  The eyes are not coordinated for many reasons, including recent eye surgery or long standing squints.  If the symptom is recent then you must come in for an eye exam to rule out other possible causes.

TURNING YOUR HEAD MORE TO SEE AROUND THE CAR

Peripheral vision contributes to how much we see around the car.  Cars and trucks beside us and pedestrians stepping onto the road to cross, are all done using side vision.  Lifestyle Optical has high-tech Visual Field Analysers that can screen for blind spots in visual fields.  The test is fully bulk-billed and can be done as part of your regular exam.

Othe problems like trouble reverse parking, navigating underground car parks, feeling unsafe in tunnels and double vision, can be a function of more than one eye problem and should be assessed.  Many eye diseases like cataracts cause driver impairment, so it is imperative to book in for an eye health check to rule out the possibility of ocular disease, particularly if there is a family history of poor eye health.


A Few More Tips to Help You See Better when Driving

Clean windscreens to reduce glare and increase contrast

Clean glasses and sunglasses

Only drive when alert and fresh

 

Happy Driving and Stay Safe and Well