If You Could Drive

Hear about the Blind Driver Challenge?  Some wizards have designed, built and tested a car a blind person can safely operate. Awesome!  Now, here’s the acid test: find an insurance company that will cover blind drivers.

I think it would be neat to drive again.  I would love to spell my wife at the wheel on long, tiring car trips.  I would love to come in from the cold to heated leather seats for me and my dog.  I wish I were as willing as I am eager.

Why do I not believe the blind-friendly car will enhance my life?  Because I see it as another false promise.  Someone, somewhere along the line from proving ground to the Edens Expressway, will throw a wrench in the works and make the blind-friendly car physically, financially or otherwise unattainable.

Driving scares me.  I relive the nerve-wracking panic I felt before I surrendered my keys twenty years ago.  Get over it, right?  Ironic that my denial to admit vision loss then left me so traumatized today.

I fear I fall short on ability to drive a car.   Of course, I feared I would be unable to master mobility using a white cane, a Seeing Eye dog or the CTA Red Line.  Now I feel adept.  History suggest that, before I commit to and work toward change, I dig in my heels and throw a tantrum.

Perhaps jealousy clouds my vision of tooling down the highway. I can build resentments against drivers as a class of people to which I no longer qualify.  Or, perhaps I fear road rage, that I will be slower to the gas pedal than the other guy is to fire his 9 millimeter automatic.

Many friends would fight to be first in line to drive the blind-friendly car.  Right now, my character defects of denial, fear of change, and self-pity are keeping me from getting behind the wheel.  I hope to change my thinking.  What would you do if you had the chance to drive?

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2 Responses to If You Could Drive

  1. bethfinke says:

    I was a terrible driver when I could see, so giving up the keys wasmn’t the biggest sacrifice I had to make after losing my sight. Ironically, I was asked to drive a new Ford Mustang a year or two ago as part of a promotional thing — felt a little guilty being asked, afraid it was an experience others who were blind might have appreciated way more than me. You can read my reaction to the experience on my own blog —
    http://bethfinke.wordpress.com/2009/05/11/80-mph/

  2. Jake says:

    Just stumbled upon this blog today. Found a link on the website of the Guild for the Blind. I needed a new cane but that’s a story for later. I have never been able to drive a real car, as I was born blind. However, I have driven bumper cars before but not for a long while. Man those things are fun! Funny that I read this entry today, because a couple days ago someone came and chewed us out for parking in what he thinks? is his lot and his lot only. Another long story. But nowadays I tell people whenever I hear someone needs a ride, that I can drive them. Just put one hand on the steering wheel, and the other on the road holding my cane!

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