How Can You Improve Concentration While Driving?

Just three in five drivers concentrate when behind the wheel

A poll carried out by the Institute of Advanced Motorists and Vision Critical of nearly 1,500 drivers has found that just sixty per cent of drivers concentrate when they are behind the wheel.

The problem was worse in younger drivers. 50 per cent of younger drivers aged 18-24 admit to not concentrating on driving all of the time. Not far behind, 47 per cent of 24-34 year olds admit to not concentrating.

The research found that older drivers are much less likely to lose concentration while driving. Seventy-three per cent of over 65 year-olds say they concentrate on the road all of the time that they are driving. Twenty-six per cent said that they concentrate most of the time.

The reasons given for not paying full attention behind the wheel were varied. Nearly a quarter of drivers (24 per cent) say that simply daydreaming was the most common reason for not concentrating. Among 18-24 year-olds the figure is almost a third, at 30 per cent.

Other reasons given for not concentrating include stress (22 per cent), thinking about what you will be doing when you arrive (21 per cent) and thinking about family, friends and personal relationships (21 per cent).

Fact 2: Most drivers get distracted, even knowing it’s risky

As mentioned above, more than half of all drivers are distracted on a daily basis. Yet, most people (87%) know that being distracted, and, especially texting while driving, is incredibly dangerous.3

Why? Our culture is increasingly on-the-go, and there are expectations to always be available. According to one survey, a quarter of participants felt pressured to answer work-related calls while driving, either because they thought it was an emergency or they feared consequences from their manager.3

Here are a few other facts about distracted driving:3

  • The peak time for distracted driving is between 4 and 7 p.m.
  • Friday is the most distracted day of the week, while Tuesday is the least.
  • Most distractions happen while a driver is moving at 45 mph.

Distracted driving can happen any day of the week, and at any time. But Friday, late afternoon seems to carry the highest risk. As you drive this week, whether it’s to work or around town, take note of when you’re most distracted, whether it’s by passengers, food or phone calls. You may notice a pattern in your own life. Then be extra careful to stay focused.

More than 70% of drivers admit to being distracted on a daily basis.3

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Is sudden blurred vision an emergency?

While a sudden onset of blurred vision may not constitute a trip to the hospital, it’s essential to talk to your eye care professional immediately to get a medical assessment of your situation. In some cases, blurred vision can be temporary and benign, but there are a few severe conditions that it can be a sign of, including:

Stroke — If the stroke occurs in a part of your brain that controls vision, sudden blurred vision can occur. Typically accompanied by slurred speech, weakness or heaviness of limbs, and a “pins and needles” feeling.

Detached retina — This happens when the retina, which is located at the back of the eye and is responsible for creating and sending visual information to the brain for recognition, becomes detached from its supportive tissue. This blood-vessel-rich tissue keeps the retina healthy and functioning, so detachment is an emergency and should be treated urgently. Other symptoms include light sensitivity, tunnel vision and full or partial vision loss.

Macular degeneration (wet) — In about 10% of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) cases, the dry form progresses to the wet form of AMD, the more advanced, damaging stage of the disease. With wet AMD cases, blood vessels grow beneath the retina and leak blood and fluid. This leakage causes damage to retinal cells, which results in blind spots in your central vision.

Please note that these instances are rare and are typically accompanied by other symptoms, as included above. However, if you experience blurred vision regularly, it’s essential to see your optician who will determine the cause.

Vision changes while driving are a threat to your comfort and safety. If you experience blurred vision or any other vision issues while operating a vehicle, you should pull over at the nearest safe stopping point. Wait until clear vision returns, or let someone else drive, even if that means you need to be picked up.

Stop Daydreaming While Driving

One of the most common types of distracted driving is also the most difficult to notice: daydreaming. Thinking about other things—a conversation with your spouse, a problem at work, what you’re going to pick up from the grocery store—can be just as dangerous as any other type of driving distraction, even when your eyes are on the road and your hands are on the wheel. This is because your reaction times are significantly impaired when your mind is somewhere else.

Avoiding daydreaming while driving can be difficult, but practice helps. Try to stay mindful as you drive; notice the vehicles around you and in front of you, pay attention to traffic patterns and road signs, and keep a sharp eye out for potential hazards. It also helps to avoid listening to loud music, audiobooks, or podcasts, all of which can take your mind away from the task of driving.

If you struggle to stay focused while driving, it doesn’t hurt to consider taking a defensive driving course. These courses can help refresh your driving skills and provide practical tips for keeping your mind and awareness on the road.

Diagnosing and Treating Vertical Heterophoria

Vertical heterophoria is one of the most commonly misdiagnosed vision disorders. Its symptoms are often shrugged off as mere headaches or minor vertigo, meaning that some patients have been known to go many years without being treated. 

At our clinic, we use a wide range of visual tests to see what’s going on with your eyes and help you find an appropriate treatment plan. Routine eye exams may not be detailed enough to catch the subtle signs of visual misalignment that could be causing your BVD. 

After determining which muscles in your eyes have become misaligned, we use prism glasses to reduce the strain in your eyes and give those over-worked muscles a break. These glasses use lenses shaped to bend light in accordance with the alignment of your eye, so that rather than having your eye strain itself to correct the image, the prism lens does the work for you.

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