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Mindful driving

Road Safety Week reminds us that vision correction plays a vital role in reducing incidents

24 Nov 2016 by Emily McCormick

I haven’t driven in 14 years. In fact, I haven’t driven since the day I was handed a certificate informing me that I’d passed and five days later moved to the ‘big smoke,’ realising that all modes of public transport, as well as my legs, provided a more sensible approach to navigating the capital with speed and efficiency.

Yet today in my wallet still sits a valid, clean driving licence that allows me to take to the road, if I so desired. Luckily perhaps, I do not desire to. And while my daily driving friends reassure me that it’s like riding a bike – you don’t forget – I would fear for myself, and even more so for those around me, if I got behind the wheel without a refresher. But the fact remains, I could.

Unlike myself, I’m sure there are many people, especially those who live in big cities, who take months or years off driving who then get back behind the wheel. Stories that reach the national press remind us that there are also those who refuse to stop driving despite, for example, their vision being below par.

I want to remind people that this week is Road Safety Week, an annual initiative that focuses on road safety and promotes steps that everyone can take to stop needless deaths and injuries year-round.

This year, Road Safety Week is calling on the public to pledge to make roads safer, in turn helping to reduce the number of accidents that occur annually. Pledges, awareness week organizer charity Brake says, can be as simple as driving less or doing something to make yourself a safer driver, such as keeping a spare pair of spectacles in the car.

Honing in on optics, I was shocked to learn that 2900 casualties are reported each year due to drivers’ poor vision, equating to 55 casualties every week.

Backing the campaign, the AOP has encouraged members to support Road Safety Week by displaying an Optical Confederation-produced poster in their practices, which highlights that good eyesight is a vital part of driving and safety on the road.

Could you help reduce the number of injuries and deaths by encouraging patients to make their own pledges this week?

Read what happened when the AOP’s clinical and regulatory officer impaired the sight of a Daily Telegraph journalist to demonstrate how visual impairment can affect a person’s ability to drive safely.

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