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Sophie blogs her thoughts about the fact that she won’t be able to drive

So I wanted to write something different today and because it's my blog I decided I can. Haha. That may sound terrible but it sort of makes my point! Today I had a realization or you might say that I have kind of got to the point where things I knew would happen or become a thing became a thing, if that makes sense.

I am in my twenties and in case you didn't know I am visually impaired and can't drive. Not in a cutesy I haven't learnt yet or that I can't afford lessons way, (I mean I couldn't anyway because lessons are expensive), but because physically it is not safe for me to drive nor would I even be allowed to.

I have no peripheral vision and only see out of one eye at a time so if I was driving and a car pulled up beside me to go around me, I wouldn't see it. (I hope you get my drift). And even if I could try to see if I could drive, I wouldn't want to because that would be dangerous.

I have siblings and they are reaching the age where they can drive. Family have offered to pay for lessons. It's kind of depressing. It is seeing something you will never be able to do. I don't think anyone fully understands that feeling unless it applies to you. I don't want to make this post about complaining but I think some areas of society have this image of disability overcoming things and achieving everything. In this case, whatever happens no matter how hard you try, you won't be able to achieve it.

I don't want people inching around me when the topic of driving comes up, but it sucks when people who you thought completely got it for the most part don't or say 'well I thought you could drive because this person can'.

A bit about the whole ins and outs in terms of the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) and their guidance as to who can and can't drive. A lot of the conditions or reasons you won't be able to get a license are to do with your brain. Your concentration, stamina and your consciousness I guess. So say for epilepsy, you have to be seizure free for at least a year, rules vary depending on whether you have had seizures when awake and /or asleep, (that includes when medication for seizure control is being taken).

If you have a seizure behind the wheel whilst driving obviously you could injure yourself and/ or others because whilst having a seizure you are not aware or conscious (going to use that word a lot!) and able to control the car.

A lot of people who have had treatment on their brain and those who take certain medications aren't allowed to drive because said medications alter the persons reaction times and ability to be fully present and drive competently. I know this as I have someone in my family who had their license taken off them because of the medications they take. Obviously if you come off the medication that is preventing you from driving, then you can regain your license.

There are a bunch of documents on the DVLA's website about the eligibility to drive but the conditions about assessing fitness to drive are

Neurological disorders

Cardiovascular disorders

Diabetes mellitus

Psychiatric disorders

Drug or alcohol misuse or dependence

Renal and Respiratory disorders

Visual disorders

They also have a miscellaneous section but the main areas that would prevent you from driving are the ones listed above.

Onto sight loss reasons. This one is more of a tricky area. If you have full vision in one eye you are eligible for a license. On the DVLA's website is says the standard of vision for driving is:

You must be able to read(with glasses or contact lenses, if necessary) a car number plate made after 1st September 2001 from 20 metres.

You must also meet the minimum eyesight standard for driving by having a visual acuity of at least a decimal 0.5 (6/12) measured on the Snellen scale (with glasses or contact lenses if necessary) using both eyes together or If you have sight in one eye only, in that eye.

You must also have an adequate field of vision

You can read more here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/a-guide-to-standards-of-vision-for-driving-cars-and-motorcycles-group-1

So I wouldn't even get a provisional license! I have older siblings and weirdly enough they have never learnt to drive so I never had the feeling of missing out I guess. Even if they had learnt I don't think it would have been an issue because I was young and wasn't that bothered then. Whereas now I notice more because I am of an age where everyone I know is driving and talking about driving. And I think that's why I'm quite an annoying passenger because I am all about safety first, not going over the speed limit ever. Because I know how much of a privilege it is to be able to drive, I wouldn't go abusing that power and privilege and ability.

My younger brothers aren't that much younger than me so they're not far off doing things like driving, going out on their own etc. I think it's okay to admit you can't do something, it's something I'm learning to get better at. It just stings at times, especially when I know the exact kind of car I would want if I could have one. I'd want a mini or VW beetle type car. Don't ask me why I've always liked them.

It's weird because at the same time I'm fine with not driving, its similar to my eyesight in the way that I can't miss what I don't have or can't do. It's not a constant thought on my mind. But it is moments like this when I do realize and I guess think about it fully.

Thanks for reading,

Until next time

Sophie x

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