A long drive can take a toll on the eyesight of the person behind the wheel. This is true whether you are driving yourself, you rent a car in Dubai (or anywhere in the world) and hire a chauffeur, or you are running a fleet of vehicles. Keeping your eyesight clear and sharp could spell the difference between avoiding obstacles on the road and crashing into one.
However prepared you aim to be for the drive ahead, driving during the hot summer months, through the night, into a sandstorm, or during the winter could affect your reaction time. Here are a few tips for preparing your eyes for a long car trip.
1. Get lots of sleep
Avoid driving when tired. Exhaustion will not just affect your body, but also your reflexes. You may even end up falling asleep while on the wheel, which is just as dangerous as drinking and driving.
Drowsiness is also an effect of taking certain medications. Don’t drive if you need to take medication that can make you feel sleepy. Have somebody else drive in your stead to keep yourself and your passengers safe.
2. Take regular breaks
Regulations vary depending on where you drive. In the UK, for instance, fleet drivers are limited to driving nine hours per day. But even without the limitations, it is important for the person steering to take regular breaks.
There are a few ways you can give yourself some time off the road. One is to park at the nearest gas station, motel or a similar area. Give yourself a few minutes to stretch and relax before taking off again.
Switching with another person for a few hours is a helpful alternative. Do this only if there is another licensed driver in the vehicle with you. The objective is to leave the car in the care of someone you trust while you rest.
3. Follow the 20-20-20 rule
As surprising as it may sound, the lack of visual stimuli can be just as stressful as driving continuously for hours.
Imagine driving on a secluded road that takes you through the countryside. With minimal changes in the environment around you, it may become more challenging to keep your focus and attention on the road. As a result, you may not be able to process any abrupt visual changes in the road in front of you.
A rabbit could jump into the highway, for example. If your mind is elsewhere, you might not be able to react in time to avoid it.
Being constantly alert is critical when driving, even on a seemingly deserted road. If you are at risk of zoning out, follow the 20-20-20 rule. The rule states that every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Doing so will give your eyes something else to focus on, at least even for a brief moment. Remember to do it only when it is safe to do so. It could be while pulled over on a carless road or during a similar driving situation where there are no obstacles.
4. Wear eye protection
Both the road and the weather present unique challenges for drivers. Driving a car on a bright summer day will be significantly different from driving through a fresh layer of snow. Your choice of eyewear could change your perspective of the environment.
Wearing just any regular pair sunglasses is not enough. Sunglasses can be too dark, the wrong size, or the wrong tint. Any of these factors could affect your driving experience and ability to see the road.
Over the years, an assortment of eyewear has been developed to make it easier for drivers to see the road. Depending on your needs, you may need to wear prescription lenses, sunglasses, or a combination of the two. The following are a few factors to consider when picking sunglasses:
● Color and tint
When picking sunglasses, the best ones have a copper, gray, or amber tint. Only these maintain color integrity and contrast; these are factors that are essential to your ability to distinguish details outside your vehicle.
● Light transmission
Different types of lenses allow different amounts of light. Clear prescription lenses allow at least 80 percent of light in while the darkest sunglasses only permit up to eight percent. Look for ones that let in between 18 and 43 percent; this keeps some of the light out while still allowing you to see the road comfortably.
● Polarized lenses
Studies show that glare alone can cause as many as 3,000 accidents per year. Glare can come from the road, car hood, window, mirror, and even snow. Reduce glare while driving by wearing polarized lenses.
5. Keep your eyes hydrated
Dry air is bad for the eyes and skin. It can irritate your eyes and make it difficult to stay focused on the road.
There are many potential sources for dry air; one of the most significant is the car’s air conditioning unit. Regardless of whether you are using the cold or warm setting, the air can dry your eyes.
Blinking can help. Do it as frequently as you need to hydrate your eyes. For more chronic dryness issues, use eye drops at least half an hour before driving – this will allow your vision to adjust before you go on the road.
6. Clean the car’s windows and mirrors
This may sound like a minor detail, but it is a necessary one: Make sure all your windows and mirrors are clean and clear of any dust, debris or grime. You need these components to see the road ahead of you and what is around your vehicle.
While you’re at it, clean the windshield as well. Use cotton or a piece of microfiber to clean these components, not your hands. Your fingers are rich in oils that can get smeared on the glass and produce glare while you are driving.
Replace your wipers if you still see streaks after cleaning them. You don’t want to risk your ability to view the road, especially during the winter or rainy season. The benefit is well worth the cost and effort of replacing the accessory.
Enjoy your drive
Driving on a wide-open road for hours without any cars or worries can be exhilarating for most drivers. Follow these tips to keep yourself and your passengers safe during a long road trip.
Alternatively, you can hire a driver to do the driving for you. This way, you don’t need to worry about anything else. Call a reputable rental company and go for a long drive today.
As Co-founder and Key Account Manager for UAEdriving.com, Felin Francis is responsible for translating the vision of UAEdriving.com into an easy-to-use online car rental portal for our customers. She holds a Bachelor in Commerce degree from the Pune University, India (2013) as well as a Masters of Business Administration degree from the Pune University, India (2015).