Penny: So Chapter four talks about facilitating changing directions, on the road to independent wheels and we have our young woman, Amanda, with her son getting ready to go down a flight of stairs.
Chapter four objectives, again, as I was saying, lets you make sure that as a traveler you're thinking about your current and your future lifestyle and how travel is going to impact that.
I mentioned that we have snapshots throughout the book, so there's about 40 of these and they're very short little snippets of somebody's life in this case, the life of Holly who had to make the decision to stop driving after she was in an accident. After each snapshot, we have a question for the traveler to reflect on. As with the "think about it" reflections, this is a question that the traveler can think about on their own or discuss with others.
Now, driver's education in some States is required for high school graduation. In many States, if you have a visual impairment, it's not required. It might be a choice that you can or cannot take as a traveler. And so we asked Dr. Molly Paisley to help us write a section about driver's education. And why as a blind person, would somebody want to take driver's education or as a low vision person who knows that they don't have enough usable vision to drive. There are reasons. So for example, it might be that you want to have a better understanding of the behaviors that drivers need to have and what makes a driver a safe driver or a not so safe. Um, being able to understand the rules of the road and what drivers are to be following. Some people are thinking that they have the potential to be a low vision driver. If they have that potential and they want to explore if low vision driving is right for them, they obviously need to understand the same information that those who don't have visual impairments have to learn. So driver's education is an opportunity for those with low vision, typically visual acuity of 2/200 or better to um, get information about what they would need to do as a driver in general. Then to see, okay, how's my visual impairment needs going to impact that information?
So there are some advantages to taking driver's ed. Again, I'm including learning about the signage and street markings and other content that can assist them in their own travel. So for example, if I understand the different colors and shapes of signs, whether I'm on a bus, whether I'm in a vehicle, whether I'm walking or biking, that information can be helpful to me as are the different markings on the road, learning about the safe and unsafe driving behaviors of others so that I can make judgments. Is this somebody I want to get a ride from again? And thinking about if I want to go with that person. Now, one thing that I know happened to me when I took driver's ed as a low vision student in high school many moons ago, and I know happens to other travelers, is you show up for that class the first day and somebody is like, Hey, what's the blind kid doing here? And that is something that our travelers need to expect. People are going to question, hey, if you have a cane in your hand? Why are you taking this driver's ed class that just doesn't compute. So, you know, I always talk to young people about having a response. Well, I'm in here so I know you know what you need to do to be safe. I'm in here cause I want to make sure that you know about people with disabilities. I'm going to make sure that I tell you about the rules of the road for people with disabilities. So helping your travel or if you're a professional or a family member, think about how they're going to respond because it's inevitable. They're going to get those questions. Obviously, if the traveler is somebody who has the potential to drive with low vision, that's a great explanation. Hey, there's special glasses that can help me drive, so I want to learn more about driving to see if I want to invest $2,000 to get these special glasses.