Driving Red Flags! Distracted Driving May Be Due to Poor Vision

When you think of distracted driving many of us think about the use of cell phones, texting on electronic devices or even drowsy driving.  Another issue should come to mind. In the March 8th issue of Parade Magazine, an article entitled Sight Savers Driving Red Flags addressed the issue of eye health and driving.  It is worth a mention here to raise awareness of yet another danger while we are on the roads.

Americans love road trips.  You may be thinking of getting on the road and traveling later this Spring, after the Health Crisis passes. Maybe you already have plans to hit the road this summer. You are more likely to drive than fly in the near future.

 We are reminded that we need good vision in order to get on the road for a good long drive. The danger is that eye, or vision problems can progress without our realizing that we are a danger behind the wheel. Kathleen McCleary, of Parade Magazine advises “Get off the road and go to an eye doctor if you notice any of the following:

Problems reading the dashboard or road signs.  Dry eye or normal age-related eye changes (like presbyopia) can affect your near and far vision.

A dark spot in your vision.  Blind spots in your peripheral vision could be caused by glaucoma, central vision loss may be the result of dry or wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Halos or glare from oncoming headlights or streetlights. “Difficulty seeing during night could be caused by AMD or cataracts.  Cataracts may also diminish color vision.”  While most road signs are black lettering on a white surface, or white lettering on a green surface, stop signs and yield signs are typically red and yellow in color, as many of us know.  These colors have a tendency to stand out in our vision.  Noticing these two types of signs can be critical to pedestrian safety. You may note these two signs also have distinctive shapes, an octagon or inverted triangle.

Stop Signs (octagon shaped) and Yield Signs (inverted triangle shaped) are signs that you as a driver should be on the look out for.  These signs are put in place in order to protect you as a driver, oncoming traffic, and most of all pedestrians.  A conviction for a stop sign can results in 3 points on your record and a fine starting at $138.  When approaching a stop sign make sure your vehicle makes a complete stop (at least 3 seconds) before proceeding.

Motorists and pedestrians are both protected by New York State Law.  It is a requirement for drivers to yield to pedestrians at a crosswalk- giving the pedestrians enough time to safely cross. Failure to yield to pedestrian tickets carry 3 points and a fine starting at $138.  Please be aware that in New York City, pedestrians do have the right of way at a crosswalk.  When approaching a crosswalk with pedestrians, make sure all pedestrians cross and you have a clear opening to continue driving.

Good vision is required for any driving. It is a matter of safety for you and other cars, as well as pedestrians. My purpose in sharing this information is to caution, not frighten you.  Currently our health is at the top of everyone’s mind.  Don’t forget the health of your vision.  May we all have ample opportunities to get on the road this Spring and Summer to enjoy all that a car trip can mean.  Be well. Drive safely.  If you get a ticket, contact our office with any questions.

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