33,399 people injured or killed in accidents involving dazzling sun

There have been 33,399 casualties to road users with dazzling sun among the contributing factors in the last 10 years. On average, this results in 653 road users being killed or experiencing serious injury every year. Cars are involved in the majority of casualties attributed to sun glare, making up 59% in 2021 and 63% across the decade. The Department of Transport has released 2021 figures, with this year noting 2,369 casualties attributed to dazzling sun – 558 (24%) resulting in serious injury including 19 deaths. A new poll by Glasses Direct in partnership with Transitions, surveyed 2,000 UK drivers, half of which were legally required by law to wear prescription glasses when driving. The survey found that 14% of drivers had been involved in a collision or near-miss because of impaired vision (i.e. sun glare) on the road, and according to the Department of Transport there were 1,774 collisions contributing to dazzling sun incidents in 2021. When drivers were surveyed in October, almost three-quarters still regularly wore non-prescription sunglasses to drive during the day, despite more than one in three (37%) saying they struggled to see clearly when driving with standard sunglasses. The research also identifies some other very concerning gaps in knowledge around appropriate eyewear on the road. Over half of drivers (55%) did not know if their sunglasses were legally appropriate for driving, and 71% had no idea what category filter their sunglasses were. David Hutchfield, Qualified Optician and Head of Professional Services from Glasses Direct said: “If you need to wear glasses for driving — indicated by a 01 code under section 12 on your driving licence — then you must also get sunglasses that adhere to your prescription and not just off-the-shelf glasses. Concerningly, this doesn’t seem to be common knowledge as only 5% of drivers who are required to wear glasses (and have the code) could accurately identify it”. Almost 1 in 5 drivers (17%) confessed they’d had their last eye test outside of the recommended 2 year check-up time frame, with 6% believing it had been 5 years or more since their last eye test. The survey also found that drivers are willing to put others at risk for the sake of their mobility as 14% of drivers admitted to avoiding going to the optician for fear of losing their driving licence. Approximately 1.2 million drivers when extrapolated as a percentage of the UK driving population, know they shouldn’t be driving but do so anyway, 7% or 2.8 million, have delayed because they’re worried about losing their independence, and a further 4%, or 1.6 million, know they need to go but can’t afford the required changes to their prescription. Although there were only minor differences in the number of casualties compared with the previous year (2020), the number of resulting deaths was halved (41 vs 19) and numbers are down on a 10Y average… although this could be in-part due to fewer cars on the roads during the pandemics, and it could be inferred that accidents may have been higher without that break from driving. The time zone switch from BST to GMT, the standard time zone, at the end of October can be known to catch people out. Usually in the sense of being late to meetings or missing school pick up, but what drivers seem to fail to consider is how the time change will affect safety on the road, as only 5% of drivers think it is especially important to wear sunglasses whilst driving in winter months. In support of Road Safety Week, an annual road safety campaign run by the charity Brake, Glasses Direct and Transitions, have teamed up with Dr Alex George, A&E Doctor, TV personality, and lifelong car fanatic to remind British drivers of road safety and how to adjust to the changing seasons. Dr George said: “Low winter sun can pose a real hazard to drivers, but despite this, only 3 in 10 of us will consider how our route will be impacted before travelling, and only 1 in 3 drivers identified that west facing roads are most likely to be impacted by sun glare when driving at sunset. It’s easy to be dazzled either directly or by the sun’s reflection on a wet road, so wearing the correct lenses, such as Transitions Drivewear available at Glasses Direct, with prescription if necessary, can help reduce this and improve your visibility while you drive” Outside of the major roads, Alex adds: “I spend a lot of time in the countryside where minor roads are common, and I’ve noticed the importance of taking care, especially here. A lot of drivers out there seem to zoom round corners without a second thought, but I urge them to consider how much they are risking their own and other people’s lives… How would you feel if the worst was to happen?”. Sophie Dilley, managing editor at Brake, said: “Every death and serious injury on the road is a preventable tragedy and yet, on average, five people die every day on the road in the UK and 84 are seriously injured. Road crashes are devastating events for families, friends and the wider community. At Brake we see this first hand through our work supporting people bereaved and seriously injured in road crashes. “We are delighted that Glasses Direct are supporting Road Safety Week this year and the campaign theme Safe Roads for All. We urge everyone who uses roads to consider who they share the road space with and to take extra care to protect our most vulnerable road users, including people who walk and cycle.”

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Published on : 2022-11-14 07:20:41

Source :walesonline

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