Canadians are not protecting their eyes enough while driving, according to a poll conducted for World Sight Day.
The poll reveals 1 in 4 Canadians take chances when driving to familiar places and short distances. The respondents admit that they have driven at least twice in the past 12 months without corrective eyewear for trips shorter than 30 minutes, as well as when picking up groceries, or getting gas. Research shows that most people get into accidents within 10-15 km of their home.
World Sight Day is a global awareness campaign initiated by the World Health Organization celebrated the second Thursday of October.
The Vector poll conducted for Clearly.ca, the largest online optical company in Canada, also reveals that 1 in 3 Canadians (ages 18-34) would drive to work without their corrective eyewear. Additionally, 21% of Canadians admit they have driven on the highway without their prescription eyewear at least twice in the last 12 months.
"Vision correction is so important for the safety of all Canadians," explains Arnaud Bussieres, CEO of Clearly.ca. "While these statistics may seem insignificant, the World Health Organization has declared poor eyesight is among the main factors for road crashes, with 1.25 million people killed in road crashes and 50 million more left seriously injured across the world every year."
Overall, most Canadians (70% of respondents) claimed they wore their prescription every time they drove. For some individuals it made a difference if they were driving alone or with others. In Quebec, 44% of respondents noted they would only wear glasses when they were driving alone, compared to 12% in Ontario or 9% in Western Canada. Additionally, four in 10 Canadian drivers are more likely to wear their prescription when they drive somewhere that is busy.
"A study conducted by the Vision Impact Institute2 revealed 1 in 5 drivers are unable to see the road clearly, which is an alarming ratio" says Bussieres. "World Sight Day is an opportunity to remind people to have their vision checked regularly as good vision is a key pillar of road safety, and poor vision can have fatal consequences."
The poll further explored how Canadians are impacted by weather and other various conditions affected their vision such as glare, fog and snow.
Additional findings include:
45% of Canadians rank snowstorms first among the nine conditions that would make them avoid driving at least half the time, followed by night (11%), fog (7%) and thunderstorms (6%)
54% of drivers rank glare first, second or third as a risk that makes it more difficult to drive
53% of women rank driving at night their first, second or third most challenging situation on the road
7 in 10 drivers state their reason for wearing prescriptive eyewear is for the safety of themselves, their passengers and those they share the road with.
4 in 10 Canadian drivers are more likely to wear their prescription when they drive somewhere that is busy
The poll also highlighted regional differences among Canadians' driving habits and what affects their vision on the road.
Key Highlights by Province:
Canadians residing in Newfoundland and Labrador are the most likely to wear glasses when they have passengers (100%), followed by Saskatchewan (97%) and Ontario (88%)
1 in 3 Albertans are mostly likely to drive on trips shorter than 30 minutes without their prescription eyewear
1 in 4 Saskatchewan residents admit to driving to school without their glasses or contacts two or more times in the last 12 months.
73% of British Columbian respondents ranked snowstorms, first, second or third as reasons that would make them avoid driving at least half the time.
6 in 10 Manitobans and 8 in 10 New Brunswick residents admit glare is the most difficult thing affecting their vision while driving (ranked 1, 2 or 3).
56% of PEI residents find driving at night impacts their vision the most (ranked 1, 2 or 3).
70% of Ontario drivers felt that using their glasses was related to their concern about the safety of other passengers.
Clearly.ca has these three tips for Canadians to help make our road safer:
Include your eyes in your annual check-up – having regular eye exams can help maintain good eye health
Wear your prescriptive eyewear (contacts or glasses), especially when driving
Protect your eyes from the glare of the sun and snow by using anti-reflective glasses and sunglasses to improve your vision
About the Clearly-Vector Poll
The findings are based on online interviews conducted between September 20 – 24, 2018 with 1007 Canadian adults (aged 18 and older) who have driven recently and hold prescriptions for eyewear. The survey results have a 95% confidence with a sampling error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points where opinion is evenly split.