Driving in different conditions..

Driving is something I take for granted. I can’t imagine living in Auckland and not driving. Maybe that’s more a reflection on our public transport woes but our lifestyles are designed around getting there by car. When we drive we use all our senses to make sure things are safe but our vision is our most important sense. There are different conditions while driving so we need to use our eyes in different ways.

Difficulties seeing at night while driving is a common complaint I receive. Partly, it is due to our eyes just not being designed well for night vision. Our retina has two types of cells for seeing, one is our cones which allow us to see during the day and the other is our rods which we use at night. These rods are pretty good at motion sensing, but are not good in detail nor in our colour vision. So, our eyes weren’t really designed to do much vision at night. It means that if we have any other issue to do with our eyes our night vision can be severely compromised. This is really why we test eyes in a small dark room – to look for any issues with the visual system at its weakest.

The worst thing for driving and our vision would have to be a wet night. The rain accumulates on the road, effectively making the road into a mirror. So, all our bright lights, from streetlights and our car lights just end up being reflected off the road surface. This can make it virtually impossible to see the white line markings – which is why cat’s eye raised marks, are now appearing on some roads to act as a distinction. In Auckland we don’t really experience significant fog, which can be an issue for other climates.

One question I get asked a lot is “for people who are colour blind – how do they know which traffic light is on!” Well, they may not be able to distinguish the colour exactly – or even the same as you or me – but they can tell by the location of the light. The top light being on means they stop…whereas the bottom light means they can go. I know in the US some of their traffic lights can be horizontal, but the same principal applies.

The bright sunlight is also an issue for driving. The sun can be at just the wrong angle for your driving and hit straight into your eyes. Sun visors and tinted windscreens can help but all drivers should have sunglasses, and especially polarised sunglasses on hand. We can even put your prescription in sunglasses which many people love. We also have Fitover sunglasses that fit on over your existing glasses and are great as they have added coverage and protection from the top and side of the glasses. They come in a range of shapes, colours and tints to suit your style and needs.

If you wish to discuss any vision difficulties, you are facing please give us a call on 09 489 4797 or book online through our website.