It’s National Road Safety Week (21-27 November) and to highlight this year’s campaign, Urquhart Opticians invited Ayrshire Roads Alliance staff to their Kilmarnock practice for free eye tests.
This year Brake, the organisation behind Road Safety Week, are asking all drivers to show their commitment to saving lives by taking regular vision tests as part of their #BrakePledge, a package of six simple promises to drive Slow, Sober, Secure, Silent Sharp and Sustainable. As well as keeping below the speed limit, avoiding alcohol, fastening seat belts, not using mobile phones, and minimising the amount we drive, the Make the Brake Pledge also recommends drivers remain ‘Sharp’ by taking regular vision tests. According to the campaign, a quarter of drivers have not had an eye test in two years, and road crashes caused by poor driver vision are estimated to cause 2900 casualties and cost £33million in the UK per year.
To highlight Road Safety Week, the team at Urquhart Opticians invited representatives of Ayrshire Roads Alliance to come in to their Kilmarnock practice for a free eye test. Assistant Road Safety Training Offers Barbara Rae and Dorothy Shaw, along with Travel Plan Co-ordinator Christine McManus, all had their vision checked by Optometrist Lisa Haldane and brought along an array of road safety campaign materials for Urquharts to distribute in throughout their Ayrshire practices.
Alistair Duff, Optometrist and Partner at Urquhart Opticians said: “As this campaign highlights, a short visit to your optician could be a life saver. Drivers are responsible for ensuring their vision meets the minimum standard. However, your vision can change at any age, and whilst you may still be able to read a number plate at 20metres, an optometrist will be able to identify if there are any other issues which could affect your ability to drive safely such as poorer vision in one eye or an existing condition that might not yet be showing symptoms.”
Ayrshire Roads Alliance’s Barbara Rae added: “As well as wearing glasses or contact lenses for driving if you require them, you must also make sure your windscreen and windows are properly cleared of ice or snow on the outside and that the inside is fully demisted before driving off.”
Peter Telfer, Business Partner at the independent optometry group, said: “As drivers ourselves, we fully support any campaign to improve the safety of our roads, and Urquhart Opticians is delighted welcome Barbara, Dorothy and Christine to our Kilmarnock practice today to highlight the link between safe driving and regular eye tests. Vision tests in Scotland are free through NHS Scotland so visiting your local optician really is one of the simplest yet most effective means of ensuring you are drive safely this winter.”
Key Facts for Drivers
· The current UK Standard for Group 1 drivers is the ability to read in good light a number plate at 20m (20.5m for old style number plates).
· However, you may still be able to ‘pass’ this test whilst experiencing loss of vision in one eye, loss of peripheral vision or double vision can seriously affect your ability to drive.
· Common difficulties such as night driving or not seeing road signs may indicate an underlying eye condition.
· Blurred distance vision, headaches, hazy vision, headlight glare discomfort, change in colour perception, difficulty seeing detail or variable vision are all common symptoms which should be discussed with your optometrist.
· You must notify the DVLA of any medical condition which may affect safe driving.
· Drivers aged 70 or over must renew their license every 3yrs and declare that they meet the medical standards including vision.
· If you already wear glasses, ask your optometrist about the best types of lenses, frames, sunglasses and coatings for driving.
· Keep your windscreen clean – inside and out!
Award-winning Urquhart Opticians is an independent group with practices in Kilmarnock, Troon, Prestwick and Glasgow which has been caring for the vision of Ayrshire residents for over 100 years.