Stay safe whilst driving in winter

Stay safe whilst driving in winter

The winter months are here and as drivers we feel safe in our cars with the heating on full blast, but changes to the weather present serious dangers where vision is concerned.

Andy Hepworth, optical expert at says we need to consider our eyes when driving in winter.

Around 3,000 casualties are caused by drivers with poor vision in the UK each year. As winter approaches, factors such as low sun and darker evenings mean our eyes are put under even more strain. Here are the five key winter driving risks associated with eyesight and what can be done to prevent them.

1. Darkness

With darker evenings and reduced daytime light, we’re more exposed to bright artificial light from oncoming headlights or street lights, causing what’s known as a distracting glare. An anti-reflective coating on lenses can rectify this problem.

2. Changing light conditions

Unpredictable winter weather causes fluctuations in light levels. This discomforting glare can lead to squinting and eye fatigue for drivers. This is damaging to eyes and can make it hard to see what’s in front of us. Lenses which darken in the car as it gets brighter are worth considering.

3. Low sun

The sun is much lower in winter which causes a severe blinding glare that can be extremely dangerous, and can create a temporary blindness. A surprising number of people don’t use sun visors – they’re there for a reason, use them!

In terms of eyewear, a polarising filter on lenses is the most effective way to minimise this glare, reduce eye strain and improve vision in these conditions.

4. Rain

In addition to making roads slippery and increasing stopping distances, rain creates a reflective road surface which, in combination with the bright low sun, exacerbates the blinding glare effect. Again, a polarising lens filter can combat this.

5. Dirty windscreens

Many drivers neglect to clean windscreens before setting off on a journey. Streaks, grease and smudges scatter light passing through the glass, making it difficult to see what’s ahead. The simple advice here – clean your windscreens!

Ensuring your vision is clear will go a very long way to keeping you, any passengers and others safe on the road. Having regular eye exams will not only check your vision, ensuring you have the correct prescription and lens solution to eliminate glare, but can also pick up underlying eye and even general health problems.

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