Many people think vision is the most important aspect of being a safe driver. This is simply not the case. In fact there is a very weak coloration between quality of eyesight and accident rates.

When the results of a study of 30,000 drivers were published, which looked at eyesight quality and crash rates, the coloration was very weak.

How our vision puts us at risk:

Humans have an observational/visual system that has been designed to make rough estimates and judgements based on what they have quickly seen or observed. This system works well when travelling around 2-10mph foraging for berries and fruit (as our ancestors did!). But apply this system to cope with travelling at 70mph + whilst trying to sort out the Sat Nav or mobile phone and you can see how things can go so very wrong!

Looking but not seeing:

As we are designed to make rough estimates and judgements with what we see, we can often look but not see. This can cause problems at junctions for example, where you notice the car or motorcyclist at the last moment. This is our minds letting us down again! An excellent example to demonstrate how we make rough judgements with our vision, is if you were to look at a photograph of a football stadium, packed with tens of thousands of fans. You would look at it, and instantly know it is a photo of a football stadium, within the space of around 0.25 of a second. You made a quick and rough judgement to come to this decision, you certainly did not analyse every detail then after some time came up with a decision, did you?

Being programmed to make these quick and easy judgements is great as it stops us overanalysing everything and helps us get on with our lives. But the downsides, related to motoring, is that we sometimes miss essential detail, such as a motorcyclist, a child about to jump into the road, or a cyclist coming along side us in slow traffic. We sometimes miss the unexpected! Our defensive driving courses provide an insight into how eyesight can be a cause, and prevention of road traffic collisions.