Eyesight for Driving

Do You Need Glasses for Driving?

An eyesight test is a standard part of the practical driving test. Fail the eyesight test and you automatically fail the driving test – you are not even allowed to proceed with it.

You don’t have to have perfect eyesight – just make sure that you have glasses or contact lenses for driving if you need them.

Remember: The eyesight test does not just apply when you take your driving test. Your eyesight must meet this standard (with glasses/contact lenses if necessary) at all times when you are driving. Driving with inadequate eyesight is an offence.

What Is The Eyesight Test?

You must be able to read a vehicle licence plate from 20.5m away (or 20m for current-style plates – e.g. AB 12 CDE).

To test this, your examiner simply asks you to read a licence plate from a distance at the beginning of your driving test. The first time they ask, you will be further than 20m away. If you do it successfully – great.

If you don’t, then your examiner will take you closer to a licence plate, until you are only just over the distance limit. You will then be asked to read the plate. If you fail this second test, you will have one more chance.

Your examiner will measure out the exact legal distance from a licence plate – either 20m or 20.5m. You will then be given a final chance to read it correctly. If you still can’t you will fail the test and will not be allowed to proceed with the driving part of the test.

Not Sure? Get Tested

If you are not sure whether your eyesight is up to scratch, there is a simple way to find out – have an eye test. It’s cheaper than failing your driving test and having to retake it.

Of course, if your driving instructor is on the ball, they will already have checked out your eyesight before the test – and if not, it is pretty easy to check it for yourself.

If you have already passed your test, don’t be complacent. Driving with inadequate eyesight is an offence – make sure you have and use glasses or contact lenses if you need them.

More Information

For more information about the driving test eyesight test procedure, click here to visit the Direct Gov website.

For more information about the medical rules for driving, including eyesight conditions and loss of sight in one eye, click here.

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