Vision and Driving

Written By: Natsuki Hara – Vision Therapist

Have you ever thought about all of the visual components that pertain to driving? In order to receive your driver’s license, the vision exam comprises only of tests that determine your visual acuity. In other words, if you have the corrective lenses (glasses or contacts), you are clear.

The following are other incredibly important visual skills that are required for driving:

• Eye Teaming – Maintaining single vision of the road, cars, street signs, etc.
• Depth Perception – Having awareness of the distance between your car and other objects around you
• Focusing – Quickly obtaining focus when viewing street signs at different distances
• Tracking – Ability to track cars that are in front of you and behind you, especially when changing lanes
• Visual Field – Having the peripheral awareness of cars in different lanes and other objects around you and the ability to scan the field
• Visual Attention – Ability to maintain fixation to the road and attend to the driving tasks at hand
• Visual Processing Speed – Having quick reflexes and decision-making skills to changes in visual stimuli around you
• Eye-hand Motor Coordination – Coordinating the steering wheel to maneuver your car in the appropriate direction

Driving is the mode of transportation for a majority of the population and it is so integrated into our daily routines. All of the above visual elements are essential when driving. Understanding these can help drivers take greater preventative measures for driver safety.

Reference: Owsley, C. & McGwin Jr., G. (2010). Vision and driving. In Vision Research, 50(23), 2348-2361. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2975746/

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