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Over 60’s urged to take extra care driving at night this winter

Motorists over 60 are being urged to take extra care whilst driving at night this winter, as new figures released by the Department for Transport showed a 14 per cent increase in reported road accidents by people 60+ in the past 12 months.

Essilor.co.uk, the world’s number one optical lens manufacturer, is encouraging drivers over 60 to take action now to make sure that they are fully prepared for night time driving conditions and consider their eye health before getting behind the wheel.

New innovations in glasses lenses, as well as some simple safety precautions, can help when driving in the darker winter months, highlights Dr. Andy Hepworth from Essilor.co.uk.

Dr. Hepworth said: “According to RoSPA 40 per cent of all road accidents occur at night. This, coupled with the annual increase in road incidences involving the over 60’s, means that this audience should be taking extra care to tackle the road at night this winter.

“We have devised some top tips for safer driving particularly in the darker winter months.”

Get your eyes tested:

It is no secret that as we get older our vision can deteriorate and as a consequence, there are a wide range of age-related eye conditions that can make night-time driving hazardous. For example, it takes a 15-year-old one second to recover from glare from lights, whereas this increases to up to nine seconds for people over 65.

As we age, our eyes are slower to react to changes in light and pupils don’t dilate as much, letting less light into the eye. The cornea and lens within the eye also become less clear, causing light to scatter, creating a glare effect.

There are also age-related eye problems such as cataracts, which can develop slowly and can often go unnoticed for a long time. It is imperative to have regular eye tests so any changes can be picked up early. The correct prescription coupled with the latest lens technology can make a significant difference to how you experience the road at night.

Keep a spare pair of glasses in your car:

Driving without the correct eyewear is extremely dangerous – not to mention illegal if you are unable to meet the minimum eyesight requirements for driving. Avoid putting yours, and other road user’s safety, at risk by carrying a spare pair of glasses with you in the car. It is also important to ensure that your spare glasses feature your most up-to-date prescription.

Invest in the latest lens technology:

There have been a number of advances in lens technologies which have been created to optimise eyesight considerably during night-time driving conditions. The biggest problem regarding night-time driving is glare from a headlight’s beam having a dazzling effect. 91 per cent of drivers say they are regularly dazzled by oncoming traffic, with 71 per cent claiming this presents an accident risk.

Essilor’s Crizal Drive lens coating can reduce reflections by up to 90% when compared with a lens that has no anti-reflective treatment – removing distractions from glare from street lights, traffic lights and headlights from other cars.

Keep your windscreen and headlights clean:

A dirty windscreen can reduce the contrast of objects on the road and make them harder to see. Ensuring that your windscreen, windows and mirrors are clean and free from dirt, streaks and smudges can significantly cut down on night-time glare. Your car’s headlights should also be kept clean – dirty headlights can reduce the amount of light they give off, impairing your night-time vision.

Adjust your eyes to the dark before driving

Give yourself a few minutes in the car to allow your eyes to adjust to the darkness before you start driving. Also make sure windscreens are condensation-free before you set off.

For more information about Essilor’s innovative lens solutions and for further driving advice visit www.essilor.co.uk.

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