A driver needs to make approximately 20 decisions for every mile driven according to AAA. In addition, a driver has less than half of a second to react quickly enough to avoid an accident. Older drivers experience a decrease in vision, visual perceptual skills and motor response. Consequently, according to the American Medical Association, older drivers are “vulnerable to crashes in complex situations that require good visual perception, attention and response”. Driving at nighttime can be even more harrowing.
Traffic death rates are three times higher at nighttime than during the day time per the National Safety Council.
As we age, our eyes change in ways that make driving at nighttime more difficult:
1. the pupils shrink in size so that not enough light is able to get through them thus making seeing at night more difficult.
2. the cornea and lens change so that they scatter light thus increasing glare and decreasing our ability to detect small differences in brightness.
3. the development of cataracts will scatter more light to increase halos and starbursts around light thereby making it more difficult to see at night.
4. eye diseases that affect our ability to see like macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy or cataracts begin to affect 33% of all drivers on the road that are 40 years and older.
5. our eyeglass prescriptions begin to change without us knowing therefore reducing our reaction speed and ability to see.
6. our ability to coordinate our eyes begin to deteriorate therefore causing more blurring, doubling of oncoming headlights, and/or more difficulty distinguishing street signs and lane markers.
Even though we experience these changes in our eyes, not all is lost. Proper vision care can help address many of the eye changes that make driving at nighttime more difficult and dangerous.
For more information, contact Bright Eye Care & Vision Development.