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Kiwi Drivers Putting Themselves And Others at Risk

Kiwi Drivers Putting Themselves And Others at Risk

Research reveals almost half of all Kiwi drivers experience vision difficulties on the road.

New research by Specsavers* has revealed that 42 per cent of New Zealanders over the age of 18 have confessed to experiencing vision difficulty while driving.

The vision difficulties highlighted in the research include difficulty reading road signs, blurred vision, strain while trying to read road maps or GPS navigation systems, headaches or dizziness and squinting.

Specsavers New Lynn Optometrist, Philip Walsh says “Many people don’t realise that vision changes over time, especially around the age of 40. Changes can happen so slowly that many don’t realise their vision has deteriorated. If this has happened to you and you are a driver, this ultimately means that you are putting yourself and others at risk. The only way to ensure your vision is its best is to schedule routine eye tests.”

AA Driving School General Manager Roger Venn says being able to see what’s happening on the road around you is a vital part of road safety and the AA’s partnership with Specsavers entitles AA Members to a free eye exam every two years.

“If people are having any trouble seeing while behind the wheel it’s a real concern and they should have their eyes professionally checked straight away,” Mr Venn says.

About a quarter (27.5%) of New Zealand licence holders are required to wear corrective lenses while driving.

“On top of people not realising the deterioration of their vision, there is a perception among some glasses wearing drivers that travelling a short distance without your glasses is ok, but it’s just not true.

You are putting yourself and others on the road at unnecessary risk,” Mr Venn says.

Since forming a partnership five years ago, Specsavers stores have carried out more than 500,000 free eye exams to AA members. However, with many still experiencing vision difficulties while driving, there is still work to be done.

Philip Walsh explains that when getting a driver’s licence, a basic vision screening is carried out and a driver is told if they require glasses to be on the road, but it is nothing compared to a comprehensive eye examination.

“Eye examinations can not only pick up eyesight issues which are vital to safe driving, but also conditions like macular degeneration, glaucoma and even health issues like diabetes.

“You wouldn’t drive your car without a warrant of fitness, so why not organise a ‘warrant of fitness’ for your eyes too? A regular eye exam should be a priority for all Kiwis, much like going to the dentist. And,

given summer is just around the corner and glare is another common issue for those on the road, why not make sure you have a pair of polarised prescription sunglasses on hand too. One benefit of Specsavers 2-for-1 offer means you could keep a spare pair in your car at all times so you’re never caught out,” adds Walsh.

*Independent research by Perceptive, commissioned by Specsavers which captured responses of 1,005 New Zealanders aged over 18 years old in February 2017. These results were calculated against the latest New Zealand Census (2013)


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