If you hope to obtain a Canadian driver’s licence in your province, chances are you’re gearing up for your practical driving test. This can be intimidating for new drivers, especially when combined with a vision test. What if your eyesight somehow precludes you from getting out on the road? Here is what you need to know about passing provincial driving exams and making sure you have roadworthy eyesight.
What to Expect: Written and Practical
Every student driver must start as a learner before obtaining a full licence. Each province has its own set of requirements; you can find more specific information on provincial government websites. In Alberta, for example, you can obtain a learner’s licence (class 7) at age 14 by passing a written exam, but you must drive with a supervisor who has a valid licence (class 5) until you are 16 years old. In Ontario, you must be 16 years old, pass a written exam, and drive with a supervisor to obtain your G1 learner’s licence; you must then take two road tests to upgrade your licence, first to a G2, and then to a full G licence. If you do not complete the training within a period of five years or less, you must start over.
Most written driver exams are multiple choice and test your knowledge of road signs, traffic signals, and the rules of the road as laid out by provincial bylaws. Practical exams, meanwhile, test your ability to drive on city streets. They involve handling turns at both controlled and uncontrolled intersections, yielding to traffic, merging, and parallel parking. In addition, you must demonstrate that you understand the basic workings of your vehicle—for example, where to find the hazard lights and hood release. Many new drivers do not pass their practical exam on the first try, often due to nervousness.
What to Expect: Vision Testing
Before issuing a licence, all provinces also require drivers to undergo some kind of vision test. This often takes two forms: a test at the issuing location that evaluates your depth perception and peripheral vision, and a medical exam that includes a test of visual acuity. In Alberta, vision in your “better eye” must be 20/50 aided or unaided to obtain a licence, whereas in Ontario, the requirement is 20/50 with both eyes open and evaluated simultaneously. While all provinces allow you to drive with eyeglasses or contact lenses, most will issue “condition codes” on your licence; these restrictions require you to wear your corrective lenses at all times when driving. If you are pulled over by police or involved in an accident and are not abiding by your conditions, you could face a penalty.
Fortunately, all provinces also allow the use of laser vision correction for drivers. Instead of worrying about your eyewear, consider a simple, cost-effective LASIK procedure from LASIK MD. It comes with a 20/20 vision commitment to let you focus on the road.