Is Your Vision Good to Drive? | Scott's Fort Collins Auto

Is Your Vision Good to Drive?

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Senior citizen man that is adjusting his glasses as he drives.

Drivers must pass a vision test in order to drive. However, vision can change over time, especially with age or certain eye conditions. Even for someone with good vision, phenomenons such as sunset and sunrise can make objects difficult to see. Follow our guidelines for driving with the best vision possible, whether it’s working on your own vision or making visibility better in your car itself!


Seeing on the Road

Did you know that there is a safety standard for your vision when it comes to driving on the road? That standard not only goes for how good your vision in, but also how good your visibility is from inside a car. You can actually get pulled over by the police if you have items piled so high in your car that you can’t see out the windows. Keep in mind that when traveling, you need to have the back windshield clear to see out of, plus the windows where you turn your head to do head checks to the left and right. If those areas are blocked, you could get a ticket.


This also goes for visibility in the wintertime. In some states that get snow and ice, drivers must clear their windows, windshields and rear view mirrors of ice and snow. Some states will even count it as a misdemeanor charge if you fail to do this and are driving on the road. That’s because your vision is incredibly important when you are out on the road. Without it, you won’t be able to see road lines, stop lights, stop signs, other cars, and especially pedestrians.


Image of a blurry dashboard and steering wheel.

Changes with Sunrise and Sunset

Many drivers will notice changes with how well their eyes see depending on the natural lighting outside. They may even  experience sun glares, blurriness or an inability to focus well. The focusing problem with your vision comes because there is less natural lighting outside, which blends many objects together. It may be hard to tell proper contrast between the road and other objects, which may make it seem like your vision is out of focus or blurry.


Driving at both of these times can also put you at a higher risk for an accident because of sun glares. When the sun rises and falls, it can come in the direct line of your vision. Always use your sun visor at those times and invest in a good pair of sunglasses so you see hazards, joggers and animals.


Is Your Vision Good Enough to Drive?

A major aspect of driving safe on the road is making sure your vision is up to state standards to legally drive. Every state will have different rules for how good your vision needs to be to legally drive. Those who don’t meet this standard will have to see an eye doctor and be approved for driving, or they will have to take extra vision tests in order to drive. When a driver starts to lose their vision due to natural, aging vision, a state may actually take away a person’s driver’s license to ensure that they are off the road. This is especially common among the elderly.


There are many age-related vision problems such as macular degeneration that may make you ineligible to drive. Conditions such as these lead to the loss of central vision or peripheral vision, loss of visual acuity and contrast sensitivity. This can make people with low vision dangerous on the road with others. However, studies show that many aging drivers will consciously take themselves off the road and stop driving once their vision gets bad.


A view from a car that is blurry, as if the driver has blurry vision.

Should You Be Driving?

Often, how well your eyes are aging will determine if you should be on the road or not. 20/20 vision means you can see an object clearly at 20 feet away. 20/100 vision means you have to be 20 feet away from an object to see it clearly, whereas others can see it clearly at 100 feet away.


In the majority of states, drivers must have at least 20/40 vision in order to drive. Georgia and Kentucky set the standard for non-restricted licenses at 20/60 and New Jersey at 20/50. There are minimum standards such as 20/100, 20/200 and others in many states, but those standards also come with rules for your vision. For example, if you have 20/100 vision, that means that you need to have corrective eyewear to make your vision be 20/20 when driving.


Some states will require that you receive documents from an eye specialist confirming that you are able to drive with your vision. Others like Florida require that one eye be at least 20/40 if your vision in the other eye is very poor. This chart is a basic form of visual requirements per state to drive.


Be Safe on the Road

No matter what your vision is like, make sure you always comply with safety and legal standards in the county and state you are in. Your vision must be in great condition to drive, otherwise you become a danger on the road both to yourself and others. Even if your vision is poor, there are corrective eyewear options that your state can inform you about. Most people can drive and drive well if they get the right tools to do so. Many drivers don’t know how well their vision is doing. Make sure you see a vision specialist and have your vision checked.


If you know there are laws regarding driving with snowy or similar situations, make sure you follow them. Find out what the laws are in your area so that you stay safe on the road and so that you know if you are able to safely drive. We not only want you to be safe, but we want your car to keep you safe. If you are due for a maintenance check or oil change, don’t hesitate to call Scott’s Fort Collins Auto at (970) 682-4202!

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