by Kendra Farrow
I don’t see well enough to drive; how do I get there? That is the question that all people with vision impairment ask themselves on a regular basis. There are so many places we want and need to go. Regardless of our default choice, we sometimes have locations or situations that do not work with our preferred method of transportation. Here are a few tips I use; maybe they will help you as well.
First, I consider the places I go on a regular basis: work, church, and the grocery store. These trips happen in a fairly predictable schedule. If I can use public transportation or a paid driver for these regular trips, I can save my family, neighbors, and friends for emergency situations. By not using the volunteers for regular trips, I can appear to be independent. When emergencies arise, those volunteers know I am only asking for this one time, not a long-term commitment.
Second, I try to push myself to become familiar with all of the options in my community. By riding the bus, for example, I can begin to have some comfort level with that form of transportation. It may not be my normal mode, but I am comfortable enough that, if I need to do it, I can do it without lots of planning and anxiety. When I am learning a new system, I have to do it regularly for as long as it takes to be past the anxious phase. In other words, I don’t get butterflies in my stomach just thinking I might have to ride the bus tomorrow because my friend’s car is in the garage.
Third, I am prepared and organized. I find that keeping a bag with the items I need every time I leave the house is important. This way, I can just grab my bag and leave when my ride comes. I don’t have to run around gathering up my keys, magnifier, umbrella, and other items I might need today.
Finally, I keep my ears open for new opportunities. Recently I read the “Transportation Guide” published by the National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision. I figured it would be a review, but I found that I didn’t know everything. If you would like to check out the “Transportation Guide” it is at https://www.blind.msstate.edu/our-products/transportation-guide/.