Vision problems can affect night driving

We recently changed the clocks to coincide with daylight savings. Turning the clocks increased the risks of car accidents in Seattle and Western Washington because more drivers are having to commute during dark evening hours .

Some drivers have impaired night and cannot drive as safely or comfortably at night time. Not all drivers are even aware of their problems. We start seeing vision problems in drivers around the age of 50. As we age, our pupils do not dilate as much, our cornea and eye lens is not as clear and age-related eye changes can occur.

Types of Night Vision Problems that Can Affect Driving

  • Blurred vision — Drivers in their 40’s or 50’s can suffer blurred vision in dim light. As a person ages and they become presbyopic they suffer from blurred vision when the light is dim even though they have sharp vision in daylight. Being fitted with the proper “night driving glasses” can remedy this problem.
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  • Problems with Glare and/or Halos — Some drivers can see just fine during the daylight hours but at night, they experience glare or halos around lights. This can greatly impair a driver’s vision and has been known to cause fatal car accidents. This problem can be cause by a problem with the cornea, as a side effect of LASIK surgery or can indicate a cataract, a vitamin deficiency, or an eye disease such as retinitis pigmentosa or glaucoma. Drivers with this type of problem should see a qualified eye surgeon, an ophthalmologist. Once the health of the eye is determined, the physician can sometimes recommend a specially tinted eyeglass (not a sunglass) or other treatment such as cataract surgery. In some cases, the driver should limit their night time driving.

If you are a driver and you have vision problems at night time, you should not drive at night unless you have a correction or treatment and have a visual acuity of 20/30 or better, have a visual field of 110 degrees or more and have proper training for night time driving.

A driver who drives with impaired vision is a negligent driver and could be cited in a motor vehicle accident. If you know you have vision problems at night, you should not drive in the same way that an epileptic who has uncontrollable seizures should not drive.

There is no doubt about it, driving is more hazardous after dark. We recommend seeing your eye doctor once a year because the test they give at the department of licensing only tests for visual acuity and can not always detect vision problems that only occur after dark.

This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents and the family of those who have died.

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Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. We have offices in Bellevue to assist you.

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