Dave: As a sight impaired person, crossing a road, usually a simple task for a sighted person, can be a nerve wracking experience and, at times, a bit of a gamble if I’m honest. Where possible, I would use a controlled crossing such as a pedestrian or zebra crossing but where these are not available, such as a junction of a side road, I would have to use my other senses in order to determine whether it’s clear to cross. On many occasions, (this actually happened more when I had my guide dog) drivers would stop and expect me to cross in front of them. Now, as much as this is a kind gesture, for me it presents a couple of possibilities:
· I can’t see why the car has stopped; maybe it’s stopped as another car or hazard is preventing them in proceeding.
· It has stopped for me but I can’t see the driver dancing in their seat and waving their hands furiously at me or repeatedly flashing their lights
On a few occasions the driver has put their head out of the window (after winding it down or that would be stupid) and shouted something like “it’s clear to cross” or “I’m waiting for you to cross”.
So, what do I do? Just wait and ignore the kind gesture? Or do I gamble and cross and hope that they are waiting for me and that I’m not about to get mown down by someone over-taking the car that had stopped???
Vicky: Hmmm…to be honest, before I worked with Dave and we talked about this I hadn’t really thought about how unhelpful this might be. It would be natural to stop and allow time for someone to cross in front of your car if they looked like they were having difficulty getting across the road but I hadn’t really thought through the implications if that person couldn’t see me. So would I do it differently now? We chatted about it when writing this post, and in reality, I’m still no further forward – this is because for some blind people, they might have good enough vision to see that my car had stopped and therefore it is helpful, but for others, like Dave, it might be confusing and unhelpful. In the end, I might think more about whether it was necessary for me to stop (i.e. how busy the road was etc.,) and if I did, then remember to be prepared to assist further…(oh and wind down my window if I was going to call out - thanks for that useful tip Dave!) :-)
We’re always interested to know about other people’s experiences and thoughts. Please share these by commenting…
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Our VIDA Insights...
Following our experiences from delivering our Vision Impairment Awareness training days over the past couple of years, we know that there’s loads more that we could talk about and examples we could have shared. Whilst these won’t be a substitute for our training, they will give you an insight (hence the name!) into our thoughts, observations and experiences from each of our perspectives - Dave’s living with sight loss and Vicky’s from being a sighted person and working alongside and supporting people who have sight loss.