Basingstoke father urges drivers not to put their families at risk this summer by getting on track with regular eye tests

Basingstoke father urges drivers not to put their families at risk this summer by getting on track with regular eye tests

Vision Express calls for essential check to safeguard roads as research reveals half of all Brits are choosing to holiday in the UK this year.

New driver research from Vision Express reveals: • There will be increased pressure on UK roads this summer with 50% of Brits choosing to have their main holiday in the UK this year, compared with 38% last year; • On average, Brits will be driving for almost three hours to their UK holiday destination and will be travelling with three people, including one child; • Almost 30% of UK drivers are overdue an eye test, with 4% admitting to never having had one; • Almost three in 10 drivers (29%) are staycationing in South West England this year, closely followed by Scotland (16%), Wales (16%) and South East England (14%); • Brits are more likely to prepare for a long journey by stocking up with drinks and snacks, rather than checking their eyesight is fit to drive.

A father from Basingstoke was shocked to discover he was putting his family at risk, after a decade-overdue eye test showed he had been driving with impaired vision in his right eye.

Now, as national optician Vision Express reveals there will be increased pressure on the nation’s roads, after finding 50% of Brits are choosing to have their main holiday in the UK in 2017, Greg Archer is urging other motorists to ensure their sight is road-worthy, by having an eye test.

After receiving a free eye test voucher, Greg, 31, and his partner Danielle, visited their local Vision Express store in Basingstoke. Greg, from Hook, explains: “I should’ve looked into getting one sooner – all of my immediate family have glasses and vision issues of varying levels and my dad had cataracts last year, but I just didn’t realise my eyes were that bad.”

With a 17-month-old son, Harry, and another child due in August, the Testbourne Community School PE teacher was understandably worried when he learned the sight in his right eye was extremely poor.

“The optometrist said if I was driving with just my right eye it would have been illegal,” he continues. “Apparently, the other eye was doing a good job of compensating so it was a gradual deterioration and so wasn’t noticeable straight away. It worries me now to think that the whole time I was driving with poor vision, I was potentially putting my family at risk.

“I had the odd one or two moments over last year or so where I couldn’t read things clearly, but I didn’t realise it had developed to such a serious extent. The first time I really knew I was struggling was during the eye test when the optometrist put up rows of letters for me to read on the wall – I just thought it was deliberately blurry.”

Greg, who drives 25 miles to work each day, now wears glasses and has noticed a real difference in both his driving and his everyday life. “It’s reaffirmed that I definitely wasn’t safe to drive before,” Greg says. “It’s made everything clearer and sharper.”

This summer Vision Express is hoping other motorists take heed of Greg’s advice, as the results from its research shows there will be increased pressure on the nation’s roads with over half of Brits opting to holiday in the UK instead of abroad.

The new driver research also reveals almost one in three UK drivers are overdue an eye test and worse still, 4% have never had one. And, when it comes to planning a long drive, Brits are more likely to spend time stocking their vehicles with drinks and snacks, than checking their vision is fit to drive by having a recent eye test.

When polled by Vision Express, almost three in 10 Brits said they were staycationing in the South West, closely followed by Scotland, Wales and the South East. Research also revealed that, on average, UK drivers will be travelling for almost three hours to reach their holiday destination with three people in the vehicle, including one child.

With seven in 10 Brits counting having enough fuel as their biggest priority before driving to their UK holiday destination, closely followed by making sure tyres, oil and water are checked, Greg hopes having an eye test is on the checklist of holiday essentials.

He and his family usually holiday in Cornwall during the May half term and drive for four to six hours to get there. He explains: “When you’re driving for a long time, there’s lots to concentrate on, like reading road signs and staying aware of what’s going on around you - add poor sight to the mix and it’s going to make the journey so much more difficult and unsafe.”

Jonathan Lawson, Vision Express CEO comments: “We passionately believe it is critical to educate drivers about sight. Our research revealed that less than half (47%) of UK drivers know what the legal eyesight requirement for driving is – that’s a big concern. It is hard to comprehend that something as important as sight is so low on the road safety agenda. While it’s important to make sure your car is fit for the road, we want to encourage the UK public to ensure their sight is worthy.

“An eye test by a qualified optician every two years - or more frequently if advised - is the recommended way to ensure your sight is up to scratch. That’s why we’re offering a free eye test to all UK drivers this summer.”

Since 2012, the DVLA has revoked or refused 42,519 car and motorcycle and 6,739 bus and lorry licenses because of poor vision. The number of UK drivers whose vision has prevented them from driving has also increased - rising 30% between 2012 and 2016. Around 50% of sight loss is preventable and a regular eye tests can not only safeguard your sight, but your driving licence too.

Jason Wakeford, spokesman for Brake, concludes: “Shockingly, on average five people are killed on UK roads each day, in largely preventable crashes. We hope by combining our efforts with Vision Express’ we can make drivers consider their vision and general health before getting behind the wheel this summer.”

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