Can a deaf person drive? Tell me your experiences
I'd like to hear your experiences about driving deaf. I'll add a couple of my own to get the ball rolling.
A few years ago I was driving with a car full of rowdy teenagers; laughing, joking, talking all together and so on (although I couldn�t hear them!) My son tapped me on the shoulder. I was driving a very busy road in Sydney in peak hour traffic trying to concentrate so I told him to stop. But he kept tapping. After a few times I looked in the rear vision mirror to tell him off and saw the flashing lights of an ambulance. I had been holding it up because I could not hear and he�d been trying to tell me.
Some years ago I drove a company car. One rainy day driving to work, I�d gently slipped into the rear of a car which had stopped unexpectedly at a green light. Not much damage to my car and still driveable but repairs were needed so while it was in the shop I was loaned a courtesy car.
It just so happened that I had organised to visit cousins in Canberra that weekend. Not a long drive from inner Sydney to Canberra and one I was confident of doing without any trouble. But I hadn�t got far down the Campbelltown freeway before the loan car sputtered and died. I just had time to pull off onto the centre median strip before blocking a lane.
But what to do now? Not only did I have the annoyance of the car break down, I was deaf and couldn�t easily call for help. I was female, young, travelling by myself and I felt alone and vulnerable. This was in the days before mobile phones, which I couldn�t have used anyway.
I noticed the roadside telephone not far away so thought I�d try to use it. I picked up the receiver and spoke. �I am deaf. I cannot hear you. I repeat I am deaf and do not even know if this phone has connected. I�m broken down and I need help. The phone box number is xxxxx.� I hung and up then repeated the whole sequence, each time repeating the same kind of message for a couple of minutes before eventually hanging up. I hoped the message had been received; that even if the telemarketer thought it had been a hoax they would send someone out to investigate.
Having done that, there was nothing more to do, except wait. So I went back to the car, got out a blanket and spread it over the ground. It was a beautiful sunny Sydney day and I sat there patiently reading a book. I waited, waited and waited and then waited some more and still the motoring association (NRMA) did not come. Here I was sitting on a blanket in the middle of a freeway and no-one even stopped!!! I started to panic and imagined being stranded throughout the night. (I found out later a serial murderer was operating in the area - TRUE!)
However, after about three hours a tow truck driver pulled up on the opposite side of the carriage way and called out. Of course I couldn�t hear him, but I explained my dilemma. He called the NRMA and found they had never received my call. It wasn�t long before the NRMA service technician arrived, sorted out the engine problem and had me on my way.
This time it all worked out for me�. But there were other times when the car broke down and I had to get help, asking and trusting that complete strangers would do the right thing by me. Once I broke down travelling between Sydney and Brisbane on New Year� Eve. I had to spend a couple of nights in the car in a caravan park. It�s no wonder deaf people feel very vulnerable in situations like this. But with a bit of forethought it need not be so. Contact your local motoring service to find out of they have an SMS number for breakdown service for the deaf and hearing impaired.
Hearing impaired Drivers - Flash Card to help if pulled over by police. Have a look at this link for information.
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From Wendy - Hi there, regarding 'Can deaf people drive" yes we can BUT prior to having my Baha Divino I used to panic when I heard an emergency vehicle siren as I didn't know where it was coming from until it was ON TOP OF ME. I didn't know who was beeping their horns, when a truck wooshed past me I got a terrible fright as I couldn't hear it coming. So yes, deaf people can drive but it's more difficult and more visual. Wendy
Posted By: freespirit
Re: Can a deaf person drive? Tell me your experiences - 01/26/08 07:18 AM
I am not deaf but.. one time I had both ears infected so badly that all i could hear was the ringing in them nothing else and I was driving tto the store not to far from my apartment at the time and I was a nervous wreck! I had no idea that I used my ears so much to drive. But i have always turned down the radio when I get lost and I am tring to look for something to tell me where i am so I dont know why it suprised me so much that I did use my ears to drive as well...
that day I almost got ran over by an EMT and fire turck because i could not hear them coming and I changed lanes while they were trying to pass me. the cop that followed me home because i didnt hear him either took pitty on me after he tested me to make sure i was sober because I got out to get a peice of paper for him and me to write on because i also had a very soar throat and couldnt talk either.... anyways I stood up and got dizzy so he naturealy thought i was drunk... anyways i took the breathing test and wrote out that I could not hear because of the ear infections and couldnt talk because or the throat infection and that I didnt have anyone to go to the store and get my meds and stuff so.. I didnt think it would be a big deal to go for my self. Obviously I was wrong!!
I know that there are many deaf people who drive and it problem is easyer for them because they learn to drive this way but for me I think I will stay home!
You're right. It's not only the hearing impaired who sometimes have to drive deaf. I think it was probably harder for you than those of us with a hearing loss. We've slowly learned to compensate but you had to do it in a rush! Glad the copy understood your problem
Posted By: Kelli Deister
Re: Can a deaf person drive? Tell me your experiences - 04/18/08 09:39 AM
When I first started losing my hearing, in early 1999, I was under the impression that I couldn't drive because I wouldn't be able to hear the sirens around me. However, when I attended my first ASL class, taught by a Deaf instructor, I learned that the deaf can certainly drive, but it does have more hazardous conditions to it. There are flashers that one can install in the car, but they can be costly. I am deaf in my left ear, and personally, even though I can still hear well with my hearing aid in my right ear, I have great difficulty with direction of sounds. So, I am also very aware when I drive of everyone around me, so that I am a safer driver.
Posted By: JimWilfred
Re: Can a deaf person drive? Tell me your experiences - 12/23/08 06:15 AM
I am not favor to driving of deaf person.
Well that's sad Jim. I've been deaf for many years and driving safely for all of them.
Posted By: Angela -Poetry Editor
Re: Can a deaf person drive? Tell me your experiences - 02/12/09 03:20 AM
I am deaf---- a deaf person driving will use their vision much more and it has been shown that they can see lights from sirens before a hearing person can hear them.
The only restriction I have is making sure I have side mirrors on both sides. I dont have all the auditory distractions to distract me from the road
When my son was taking drive's ed I talkd to the instructor about the fact that he had Asperger's.
He said thast was perfectly OK, he had special ed students that he needed to make adjustments for before - such as a deaf girl.
I told him I didn't realize deasf people could drive, because I thought you needed to be able to hear emergency vehicles.
He told me that deaf people tended to be better drivers because they weren't distracted by things like the radio, cell phones or other people talking.
Just like what you said Angela
Absolutely Angela. I think we check more because we only have our visual sense.
Posted By: Victoria de Ney
Re: Can a deaf person drive? Tell me your experiences - 09/23/10 10:00 PM
I am severely hearing impaired. It's not my disability that prevents me from driving, though; it's my anxiety or fear of being killed in a car accident (if that happened, it would be a self-fulfilling prophecy!) and my terrible sense of direction.
Thanks to the wonderful hearing-aid technology, I would be able to drive safely if it weren't for the above variables. But I could NOT drive safely in a car full of people; the noise of people talking would overwhelm me.
I have an auditory processing disorder and don't necessarily hear when I'm concentrating - such as concentrating on driving. Hearing isn't important to driving at all and I would say that overall, passengers telling me about potential hazards has been in the unhelpful to dangerous range much more than they've been helpful. Here in Portland, most of the emergency vehicles run with lights only anyway (except possibly at intersections.)
I couldn't agree more. Thanks for your comments
Posted By: kimmi12
Re: Can a deaf person drive? Tell me your experiences - 06/22/11 12:04 PM
Even I agree with you, a deaf person should not be allowed to drive and also personally he should drive. Driving may cause injury to himself and also to many innocent people.
If they want to drive, they should go for hearing aids first and then go for the drive.
I live in Olathe Kansas, the home of the Kansas State School for the Deaf. Kids come here to go to school, and they stay because our town has a vibrant deaf community and a deaf cultural center.
If deaf people could not drive, we would have a lot of deaf people walking. Yes, deaf people can drive. As in all populations, there are good drivers and lousy drivers. They can see the flashing lights on emergency vehicles, so the siren is just frosting on the cake.
One poster said that they don't talk while driving, so they are safer. Wrong. They do talk when they are driving, and that is hazardous, since they sign, it can take their eyes off the road. A brief comment is fine, but a protracted conversation is downright hazardous!
Should deaf people drive? Absolutely! Should they talk and drive? No way!
I am hard of hearing, but it hasn't affected my driving significantly.