See to clarity on road trip, holiday or return
Before setting off to a holiday destination or on the journey home, one needs to ensure the best possible driving visibility all conditions. There are various factors that may affect this. Eugene Herbert, the managing director of Gauteng-based Masterdrive, has a few tips for our readers.
The headlights not only help you to see but ensure that others see you. Before leaving, ask someone to help you check that all vehicle lights are working properly.
“Even if the lights are slightly duller than usual, replace them. Ensure you replace both headlights at the same time so they are the same brightness. If you have an older car and the lenses have started to go yellow, you should also get these replaced, preferably by a professional. Lastly, ensure the lenses are clean before leaving,” Herbert says. Travel with headlights on all the time.
The windscreen must be free of cracks and chips. “Chips and cracks can distort light that shines through, affecting perception. Small chips can make the light shine in a halo effect while grooves can make it seem like a strip of light has two tails. The effect on vision is more pronounced at nighttime.” Other effects include taking longer to adapt when a light dazzles you or difficulty detecting and judging distances to objects.
Part of windscreen maintenance includes inspecting the windscreen wipers. “Check that they are in good working condition and are not worn or discoloured. Usage and sunlight both cause wear on wipers. If they are not worn, also ensure they are not dirty. Dirt can corrode the rubber and leave dirty streaks. If you need to replace, avoid choosing cheaper, low-quality options.”
LOOK AFTER YOUR EYESIGHT
Approximately 90% of the stimulus used to drive safely is collected through vision. Visual acuity and depth perception affect driving. “Visual acuity affects the ability to judge space and distance between objects," says Herbert "It is used when moving into another lane or to clearly see road signs, animals, pedestrians and cyclists. Peripheral vision is affected by visual acuity. This is your total field of perception which you see without moving your head or eyes. When moving at 100km per hour, your visual field is only 40°. To see outside of your peripheral range you need stimulation like an indicator light.”
Depth perception is used to determine the length, width and height of an object. This is what you use to manoeuvre around cars without bumping them, determine the speed of objects and when crossing roads, changing lanes or overtaking.
“If you have not recently had your eyes tested or have concerns that your vision may not not be up to scratch, get them tested before setting off on a long journey,” advises Herbert.
Other effects include taking longer to adapt when a light dazzles you or difficulty detecting and judging distances to objects.