The Question:

How is the vision of a driver impacted by emotion, age, speed, time of day, and distance? This Q&A explores how these factors can impact a driver’s vision, and consequently their safety, on the road.

Scope Of The Problem:

Driving, particularly in the work setting, is potentially one of the most dangerous activities a person can do in the course of their day. It is also an activity that relies on vision, and drivers scanning the road ahead, to drive safely. There are many ways vision can be impacted while driving: the driver’s emotional state and age, for example, can have a significant impact on their visual ability and, therefore, their ability to drive safely.  And research shows a variety of visual abilities are connected to safer driving, including visual acuity, visual field, contrast sensitivity, and visual processing speed (Owsley & McGwin Jr, 2010; West et al., 2003).

Reflecting the importance of vision in road safety, Australia has a legal minimum level of eyesight drivers must meet if they are to hold an unconditional licence. This minimum ‘uncorrected visual acuity level’ is 6/12, which means that drivers can discern details at 6 metres that someone with normal eyesight would be able to discern at 12 metres. Generally speaking, drivers should be able to read a normal car licence plate from about 20 metres away.

This Q&A explores how an individual’s visual ability can be reduced or impaired through several factors, such as a driver’s emotional state and age, time of day, and the speed of the vehicle and its following distance.   

Please refer to the Q&A article for the entire content.