Driving Blind

Pc Austin said that when he pulled over the car, Aziz, who wore dark glasses, was fumbling with the controls. When asked if he noticed anything about Aziz he replied: "I did — he didn't have any eyes."

London Daily Telegraph - Sep 5, 2006

     Posted By: Alex - Tue Nov 29, 2022
     Category: 2000s | Eyes and Vision | Cars

I'm a teacher of the blind and visually impaired. One of my former students told me that he once drove -- and crashed -- a golf cart. BTW, it's possible for some people with low vision to drive safely using bioptic glasses (AKA telescopic lenses). Obviously, that doesn't apply to people with little to no vision.
Posted by ges on 11/29/22 at 08:52 AM
Too bad he wasn't early enough to be the inspiration for ZZ Top's song "Arrested For Driving While Blind."
Posted by KDP on 11/29/22 at 05:02 PM
There's a Top Gear episode involving this. They get a (at least officially, I don't recall how completely) blind man to race around the Top Gear track, under the supervision of the Stig. It is equally frightening and exhilarating.
Posted by Richard Bos on 12/03/22 at 02:03 PM
In one of the books in the Time-Life Science Library (Wheels?), a chapter opened with the fact that a high percentage of people receiving aid to the blind (in Kansas?) had drivers licenses. I don't remember if they explained why or I found the info elsewhere: you didn't have to retake the vision test when you renewed your license, so it was easier to get than going through the whole application process to get some other state-issued photo i.d..

I once had to drive blind about 1/4 mile, and I'll never forget it. It was on I-29 going south in Iowa. Clear day, no other traffic for miles and miles, it would have been ideal if it wasn't for the smoke blowing across the highway from a grassfire. There was no turnaround near, and the median was too steep and deep to even consider. I didn't fancy turning around and driving ten miles to the last exit. So I figured I'd just get near the edge of the pavement and go slow. What could it be, a few yards, maybe a hundred feet at worst?

Complete white-out -- couldn't see the end of the hood. And it kept going and going. After a while, I looked at the odometer. A couple of times I eased to the side, just to feel the tires go onto the shoulder to check I wasn't going diagonally across the road.

When it finally ended, the odometer showed I'd gone a full 0.2 miles since I'd looked at it, so it was at least 1/4 mile without see the tiniest bit of the road. If someone had been stopped in there, I'd have hit them for sure.

Not an experience I'd want to relive for anything.

The only good thing about it was I was still in Iowa. Highway planners in Missouri consider the "straight-edge" to be mythical and would never consider using one, or anything like it, in laying out roads.
Posted by Phideaux on 12/03/22 at 07:03 PM
Phideaux, your story reminds me of driving blind once, also in a complete white-out. Yes, it's something you don't forget. Mine was in the fog, late at night in the German countryside, for several miles (or km., if you want), to get "home" where I was staying. I never knew fog could get so thick. My choices were: 1. swerving back-and-forth to feel the edge of the road, as you did, or 2. spend the rest of the night roadside in a VW beetle? (So I went.)

I needed a left turn between two towns; arrival in the second town (and less fog) told me I had missed it. Turning around, I now had my trusty right-side feeler-tires to find the turn-off. To confirm it once I thought I'd found the turn, I backed up and got out of the car. To see the asphalt of the side road, I actually had to get down on hands and knees. The fog cleared before I reached the town I was headed.
Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 12/04/22 at 09:05 AM
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