Drive the distance with high precision vision

We are all aware of the risks that driving under the influence of alcohol represents: it impairs our decision-making skills, our coordination, and our reflexes, especially since alcohol hinders all the sensory information our brain receives. But here’s a quick question: have you ever given any thought about visual acuity when it comes to being behind the wheel?

Getting in the car to go somewhere is such a day-to-day task that for us drivers, it has become a habit, a reflex to the point where we don’t really think about how much our senses are engaged and how demanding it is for our brain.

When we are driving, our senses are all fully deployed to help us understand our environments and drive safely. Hearing, touch, and sometimes even smell are used but sight is by far the sense that is most involved when we are scanning for dangers through the windshield and mirrors or simply reacting to changing traffic lights. In fact, 90% of the instructions our brain receives for us to drive a vehicle come through our eyes.¹ 

Be in the clear

Clear vision provides the optimal conditions to read distant signs, information on your dashboard and anything else that might come into your field of vision. It is also a legal requirement in most countries, with strict ‘driving eyesight rules’ having been implemented for our safety. 

Visual acuity is a measure of your eye’s ability to distinguish shapes, decipher far away signs so that you can anticipate your next moves. Broadly speaking, the rule of thumb is that you must be able to read a car number plate from 20 meters (66ft) away in front of you, which is actually quite some distance when you think about it. The minimum visual acuity for you to drive safely is 0.5 (6/12).

Of course, not all of us are born with perfect vision and trust us, age is not kind on our precious eyes: that’s where visual correction comes in. Contacts and corrective lenses can help us obtain as high a visual acuity as possible. Not sure where you’re at? Our online Vision Test is here for you to get your vision checked but also to test your visual reflexes, which are, as we’ve mentioned before, absolutely key for you to turn that ignition key worry-free.

While there are no official estimates of the number of drivers with eyesight issues that fail to meet the minimum legal standards, some statistics show that 20% of drivers have uncorrected or poorly corrected visual defects. Worse still, 25% of drivers do not wear their prescription glasses when driving!² When you think about the fact that driving without your prescribed corrective glasses not only blurs your vision but also considerably reduces your reaction time on peripheral vision, it’s no wonder so many accidents could be avoided if visual acuity was taken as seriously as it ought to be.

It’s all a blur

So why and how is our vision unclear, fuzzy, and blurred? While there are many different factors that can affect your vision on the road, many of those are related to common eye conditions such as:

The great news is: all of these conditions can be corrected using the appropriate contact lenses or corrective lenswear! Not only will it provide you with clear vision, but will also protect you from eye fatigue. When driving long distances, we are bound to feel tired, especially in the eyes, even more so if our eyes are strenuously trying to accommodate to receive all the information needed. So for those on the road, bear in mind that eye strain and driving go hand in hand, and that adapted lenswear will help alleviate eye fatigue and make the road safer for you and for us.

That’s why, as the saying goes: better safe than sorry. We strongly recommend you make an appointment with one of our Nikon Lenswear eye care professionals to get a full eye check-up close to where you live and receive the best advice with regards to your visual comfort. 

Driving during the day and night

Now that we are on the right track, let’s not stop here. There are two other factors you should be aware of when it comes to visual acuity and road safety: driving in sunlight and driving by night. 

We all love a sunny day, but when we are behind the wheel, the sun can prove to be a considerable hindrance and a sun visor won’t be enough. If you aren’t wearing sunglasses, you will naturally be squinting, which drastically reduces your field of vision and in turn, your depth of field. If you are blinded by sunlight, especially at dawn and dusk, you may not be able to spot dangers on the road quick enough to avoid them, not to mention that being constantly dazzled puts enormous strain on your eyes. Glare is another hazard that needs to be mentioned, as it is specific to driving: road glare can be extremely dangerous if your eyes are not protected from the sun.

Discover Polashade lenses by Nikon Lenswear, a specific type of Sunwear which controls glare while offering excellent UV protection and improving our contrast and colour perception. Another great solution is photochromic lenses such as Transitions XTRActiveR lenses: this smart and convenient technology darkens the tint of your clear lenses in reaction to the sun’s UV rays, even behind the windscreen! Enough to relieve squinting and glare, and you’d be surprised by how dark those lenses get in bright sunlight.

With changing seasons and our various commitments, driving at night is quite unavoidable. Safe driving at night requires the ability to see in low light levels, beyond the range of the car headlights. Talking about headlights and street lights, they can cause unpleasant glare at night, but anti-reflective coatings will cut glare by lowering the amount of reflected light. SeeCoat Drive is a lenswear solution by Nikon Lenswear specially developed for driving, which reduces the blinding effect of glare when driving in the dark while offering superior vision in daylight.

Drive safely with Nikon Lenswear

As a proud partner of the FIA Action for Road Safety, Nikon is committed to equipping drivers with the best possible vision solutions for a safe driving experience on the road.

Take the wheel, be in control

Can you see clearly at far or near distance? Are you wearing visual correction? If not, then you shouldn’t be driving. Sorry if this comes across harsh, but it’s the truth. 

Doing everything you can to take care of your vision and maximise your visibility when driving will help you avoid any mishaps and keep you and your loved ones safe.

Drive safe!

1 Owsley C, McGwin G Jr. Vision and driving. Vision Res. 2010 Nov 23;50(23):2348-61. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2010.05.021. Epub 2010 May 23. PMID: 20580907; PMCID: PMC2975746.

2 Prabhath Piyasena, Victoria Odette Olvera-Herrera, Ving Fai Chan, Mike Clarke, David M Wright, Graeme MacKenzie, Gianni Virgili, Nathan Congdon, Vision impairment and traffic safety outcomes in LMICs, The Lancet Global Health, Volume 9, Issue 10, October 2021, Pages e1411-e1422,