Dr Employer: How to ensure employees drive safe at night

Dr Employer: How to ensure employees drive safe at night

The Winter Solstice approaches. The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer, and employees are more likely to be driving in the dark.

Given that employers have a responsibility for the health and safety of their staff carrying out work activities – including any driving done for work purposes – it is important that the risks are mitigated.

The key issue to address is reduced visibility. Nigel Best, Doctor of Optometry at Specsavers explains: “Depth perception, ability to distinguish colour, and peripheral vision are all worse in low-light conditions.

“And as we age the lenses inside our eyes lose their transparency, which can result in experiencing more glare when driving at night.”

What’s more, Best continues: “Xenon headlights are becoming more common. They are brighter than conventional halogen headlights. This benefits the driver but can be problematic for people driving oncoming vehicles.”

While employers can’t control the seasons, they can take some simple steps to reduce the risks. The first is to provide eyecare for employees and to ensure that all drivers have their eyesight checked regularly no matter how infrequently they drive for work purposes. The second is to issue up-to-date policies that are widely communicated to all drivers – not just professional drivers, but also those attending occasional meetings or running errands too.

Here are six suggestions to include within any communication to drivers, according to Best:

  • Dim dashboard lights to avoid reflections and having to adjust your eyes from the dark road.
  • Turn your gaze away from the glare of oncoming headlights.
  • Keep windscreens and mirrors clean.
  • Reduce the effects of eye fatigue by keeping your eyes moving, scanning around the field of vision, rather than just focusing on one area.
  • Never wear dark or tinted lenses for driving at night.
  • Have your eyesight checked regularly – at least every two years. Eyesight can worsen gradually so changes are sometimes difficult to discern.

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Comments (1)

  • Big Dog
    Big Dog
    Fri, 9 Dec 2016 9:30am GMT
    My personal concern with the festive season approaching would be the health and safety of my employees drinking, and raising awareness of the dangers that drink driving could have as we have more night's out after work, people may be a little bit more tempted to have that Xmas drink or two with co-workers after work, or indulge a few festive drinks with a client only to then drive home. I think this issue should also be highlighted to workers and this should come from the people function to ensure their staff members behave appropriately and not put themselves, or others in danger.

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