Driver Readiness Page 2 of 10 Physical Readiness When you drive, you get information from all of your senses. You see, hear, smell and feel the motion of the vehicle - all of this input helps you to be aware of your driving environment, to predict what might happen, and to assess how to react. This information is processed by your brain and keeps you aware of changing situations. Sensory input helps your brain understand and decide when to accelerate, steer or brake. You also need to be in general good health with no injuries or illness that might prevent you from operating your vehicle safely. Vision Vision is the primary sense used in driving. About 90% of the information required for safe driving relates to vision. Since 90% of the information required for safe driving relates to vision, the degree of accurate vision is essential. Visual acuity refers to the clarity or clearness of one's vision, a measure of how well a person sees. Visual acuity is a measure of the ability to identify black symbols on a white background at a standardized distance as the size of the symbols is varied. This acuity is dependent upon the retinal focus, the sensitivity of the nervous system elements, and the manner in which the brain interprets the information. The well-known phrase "20-20 vision" refers to the ability to read given letters at a standard length of an eye exam room, specifically the distance from the patient to the acuity chart, which is typically 20 feet. Good driver vision includes:·Contrast sensitivity ·Substantial visual field of view ·Glare recovery Contrast sensitivity is the capacity to sharply see the difference between two similarly colored objects. Often pavement markings are worn and tend to blend into the road. This can affect your ability to locate the lane boundaries and where the edge of the roadway is located. When driving, the inability to see the difference in contrast also affects distance judgment. An adequate visual field of view means you are able to see objects in the periphery. Horizontal and vertical peripheral vision enables you to see up, down and to the sides. This ability is necessary for detecting signs, signals, vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, etc., outside of the field of view directly ahead. Glare recovery refers to the ability to see in the presence of oncoming headlights, at night, or in the presence of sun glare in daytime. Glare introduces stray light into the eye; it also reduces the contrast of important safety targets. If you suffer from allergies and have watery eyes, consider how that will affect your ability to see clearly before getting behind the wheel. |
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Neck and Head Movement
Scanning to the sides and behind not only requires the ability to focus on the objects in the mirrors but the ability to move the neck and head quickly. A restricted range of motion reduces your ability to effectively scan to the rear and sides of your vehicle to observe blind spots, and can also hinder the timely recognition of conflicts during turning and merging maneuvers at intersections.
Strength and range of motion in the arms are related to the ability to turn the steering wheel and negotiate turns at intersections. Be sure you have strength enough in your arms to control your steering wheel in the event you lose your power steering.
You also do most of your braking and acceleration with your leg muscles.
Overall Physical Well Being
Your overall physical well being is essential to operate your vehicle safely. In order to react quickly and operate your vehicle, all of the muscles and parts of your body that move, push and pull the controls must be responsive and strong enough to safely make these maneuvers. Allow someone else to drive if you are sick, injured or have any other substantial physical impairment.
The most comfortable position for your hands depends on your...