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The Dangers of Tunnel Vision When Behind the Wheel

Published on Sep 12, 2019 at 12:57 pm in Car Accidents.

Man driving car

While driving, it’s crucial for the driver to be focused manually, cognitively, auditorily, and visually. This means that their hands are on the wheel, their mind is on the task at hand, they’re listening for possible hazards, and their eyes are alert and focused on what’s in front of them. When there are deficiencies in any one of those elements, that driver could cause an accident. Collisions in Cincinnati are particularly dangerous because of the amount of traffic on the road at any given time.

When a driver with tunnel vision operates their vehicle, they are doing so while visually impaired. They don’t have the ability to see what’s going on around them, only in front of them. When this happens, it’s easy for a crash to occur. It’s important for all drivers to understand the dangers of tunnel vision behind the wheel. This awareness can help prevent wrecks and save lives.

Understanding Peripheral Vision Loss

A normal field of vision extends approximately 80 degrees to the nose and 90 degrees to the ear. This means that with both eyes together in a normally sighted person, they can see an almost 180-degree field of view. The peripheral retina is sensitive to motion and sees best in low light. It, however, does not have the resolving power of the macula. This is why we cannot see sharp details in our peripheral view.

With tunnel vision, the field of vision decreases. The degree, ranging from mild to severe, depends on the condition and the individual.  As a result, someone with tunnel vision may frequently bump into or trip over objects, tilt their head while reading, have trouble using stairs, be surprised when approached from the side, or have poor sports skills.

Causes of Tunnel Vision

Tunnel vision is typically caused by damage to the optic nerve, retina of the eye, or areas of the brain responsible for processing visual input. Some of the most common causes of tunnel vision include the following:

  • Concussion
  • Diabetes
  • Glaucoma
  • Retinal Detachment
  • Optic Neuritis
  • Brain Tumor
  • Stroke
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa
  • Drugs

This medical condition can also happen as a result of an extremely stressful situation. For example, a person’s field of vision could be compromised during a panic attack. Depending on the cause, tunnel vision can happen gradually or automatically. Gradual tunnel vision is often the result of vision loss over time from diseases like glaucoma. Immediate tunnel vision may be an emergency, so it’s best to seek medical attention as quickly as possible.

People who are aware of their limited vision often experience limited freedom of movement. Even walking across a room needs to be done with caution when someone can’t see to the left or right. Driving with tunnel vision is always dangerous. As a result, not all drivers with tunnel vision are legally allowed to operate a vehicle on the road.

Driving with Tunnel Vision

Every state has its own vision requirements for drivers. In Ohio, drivers are subject to the Minimum Visual Acuity Standards Chart. In regard to peripheral vision, the minimum requirement for an unrestricted license in 70 degrees of side vision in each eye, 20 degrees less than the average person. With anything less than that, a person may be restricted to daylight driving or completely ineligible for driving privileges.

Driving below the legal eyesight standard is dangerous for a number of reasons. Poor eyesight means missing the opportunity to react to hazards. While many people drive the same routes every day, that doesn’t mean the road conditions stay the same. Unexpected diversions could be missed by a combination of tunnel vision and complacency.

It’s even more dangerous to drive at night with tunnel vision. Even those with the best eyesight can experience visual strain in the dark. With weakened eyesight, the driver is even more vulnerable. Tunnel vision can increase experiencing blurred vision, difficulty focusing, and halos around headlights or streetlamps.

Seek Recovery Today

Determining if tunnel vision played a role in your accident can be challenging. If you believe your crash was caused because of another driver’s negligence, working with the lawyers from Bey & Associates can improve your chances of holding the driver accountable and receiving compensation for your losses.

Proving the cause of an accident isn’t always easy. Fortunately for our clients, we have years of experience gathering crucial information and evidence that exhibits how and why a crash happened. If you’re ready to take charge of your future, get in touch with our law firm today. We’ll begin with a case evaluation, so we can get an idea of what you’re facing and give you advice on how to move forward.