Eyesight Requirements for Driving in the UK

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Eyesight Requirements for Driving in the UK

July 13, 2022

Every country seems to have their own requirements and regulations regarding eyesight for driving on their public roads and highways. If you are wondering about the laws regarding eyesight and driving in the UK. Look no further as we have done our research into how good your eyesight should be and when you would need to wear glasses or contact lenses to legally drive on the road.

The Law Explained

Motorists must be able to read number plates that have been made from 1st September 2001 which happens to be the modern design of number plates here in the UK from a distance of 20 metres, meaning you need to be able to clearly see and read the number plate from that distance.

You also need to have a clear field of vision, so if your vision is blurry or you are unable to clearly see your surroundings, then this is when you will need to wear glasses or contact lenses to improve your vision.

You must also have a visual acuity of at least 0.5 (6/12) on the Snellen scale. This is a measurement that is used by opticians which judges your ability to see and read letters of various sizes from a range of distances. If you happen to score 6/12 on the Snellen scale, this means you are able to see clearly a distance of up to six metres, which is the legal minimum distance you need to be able to legally drive in the UK. For someone to have ‘normal’ vision, they need to be able to see for up to 12 metres.

What are the Regulations for Lorry and Bus Drivers?

Interestingly, lorry and bus drivers need to reach a higher standard, when it comes to driving and their quality of eyesight. Like car drivers they also get tested by using the Snellen scale, but this time they need to be at least 0.8 (6/7.5) in what they consider to be their best eye and at least 0.1 (6/60) in their other eye.

What to Do if you are in Doubt about whether your Eyesight meets the Legal Requirements

If you are in doubt, then it is important to book an eye sight test with your local optician as they will be able to judge your ability to meet the requirements on the Snellen scale and they will also tell you whether you need to use glasses or contact lenses to enhance your vision to meet the legal eyesight requirements for road users.

Will your Eyesight Get Tested on your Driving Test?

Yes, once you begin your driving test, before you actually get inside the car and begin driving, your driving examiner will get you to stand 20 metres away from a vehicle and they will ask you to read out a particular number plate, to judge your ability to view a number plate from the legal required distance. If you are not able to read the number plate, unfortunately this will result in failure of your driving test.

What if My Eyes are in Poor Health?

If your eyes have become in poor health since you have gained your driving licence, you will need to see whether you can drive with this certain eye condition. However, just because you currently have poor eye health, it does not mean your eyes will always be in poor health as there are so many treatment options available, but it is important to follow the rules of the law and to not drive if your eye condition is listed as a condition you cannot drive with.

How Often Should I get My Eyes Tested?

It is recommended in order to keep on track of the quality of your vision and your overall eye health, you should get your eyes tested yearly. If you happen to be a glasses or contact lense wearer then this rule is especially important and your optician may tell you that it is important to have yearly eye tests as your eyesight can get worse or improve over time.

Our top tips for glasses/contact lens wearers

  • Always make sure you wear your glasses or contact lenses whilst you are driving.
  • Keep a spare pair of your contact lenses or glasses in your car in case your contact lens needs to be taken out whilst you are away from home.
  • Get regular eye tests to ensure your current prescription is suitable for your eyesight.
  • If you are in doubt about whether you can legally drive with your eyesight without the use of glasses or contact lenses, visit the UK government website for further information.

Final Thoughts

We hope you have enjoyed our article on eyesight requirements for driving in the UK. As long as you are aware of the law and you make sure your eyesight meets the requirements of the law, then you will be fine. Here at Exchange My Car, we make blogs for car enthusiasts and for people who also just like to buy cars. Stay tuned for more!

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