When you embark on your driving test, the first thing you’ll do before you even climb into the vehicle is assess your eyesight. Asked to read a random number plate from across the car park at the test centre, your vision will be scrutinised to see whether or not you can see well enough to safely drive a car. Lucky for some, then, that glasses exist and can be worn while they’re at the wheel – but if you require glasses to see more than the hand in front of you, do you really need to wear them while you’re driving?
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If I Have Prescription Glasses For Driving, Do I Have To Wear Them Every Time?
Your eyesight must meet the DVLA’s standard for safe driving, which means that if you can only do so by wearing glasses, then you do indeed have to wear them every single time you operate a vehicle. There are specific measurements that your optician can take and inform you of which must be met; we’ve explained these further down the page.
What Happens If I Don’t Wear My Glasses While Driving?
Most likely? You’ll crash.
But that won’t be the end of the story. If you’re found out to be driving without your glasses and unable to meet the standard for safe driving, whether that’s because your suspicious driving has attracted police attention or you’ve been involved in an accident, you can expect some serious repercussions.
For starters, you will be in violation of the Highway Code and as such could be fined up to £1,000, with a possible three point penalty added on to your licence too! That’s if you’re charged with ‘driving with uncorrected defective eyesight’. If you’re charged with the much more severe ‘dangerous driving’, then you could face being banned from driving altogether, an unlimited fine and potentially even jail time!
And that’s just the problems involving the police that you’ll run into. If your eyesight is deemed to be the cause of an accident, you can expect your insurance company to invalidate your policy and refuse to cover you for any damages. This will only pile on the misery, leaving you with some huge bills to pay on top of any possible fines.
Do I Need To Tell The DVLA That I Wear Glasses?
You don’t need to go out of your way to tell the DVLA that you need to wear glasses, but you will be asked when you apply or reapply for your licence. If you do, you’ll notice a little ‘01’ code on your new licence if you look closely. This is an endorsement letting authorities know that you’re supposed to wear glasses while driving.
There are other eyesight-related medical issues that will prevent you from driving legally though, and these are listed in full on the government’s website. Many can be associated with simply getting older, but if you don’t want to hang up your keys for good just yet, you can take a look at our driving tips for seniors and how to handle the roads at an advanced age.
What Are The Eyesight Requirements For Driving?
The DVLA standards rule that you must be able to read a car number plate (made after 1st September 2001) from 20 metres away. Your eyesight should also meet certain standards on the Snellen Scale, with a visual acuity of at least 0.5, or 6/12. Finally, your field of vision should be adequate and can be tested by an optician to determine whether it’s good enough for driving.
Whilst we’re on the subject of medical prescriptions, let’s also mention the requirements for driving a bus or lorry – they’re slightly different. A visual acuity level of at least 0.8 (6/7.5) is required in your best eye, but your ‘bad eye’ must still have at least 0.1 (6/60) visual acuity.
What Happens If I Don’t Wear My Glasses And I’m Involved In An Accident?
As we mentioned above, there are strict punishments for those who drive without glasses to keep their eyesight in line with the DVLA standard. The most severe of these are typically reserved for drivers who do actually cause an accident and can lead to the guilty party being fined at a minimum, all the way up to being imprisoned! Keep your eyes on the road!
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