The contents of this column reflect the letters we had received by the time we went to press, November 15, 2004. Letters are limited to 300 words or less. All submissions must include the author's name and location. Opinions expressed are those of the authors.
Regarding Low-Vision Drivers
My sister and I both have limited fields of vision from complications of glaucoma. Both of us fully meet the requirements for driving with our corrective lenses.
Every person over 40 starts having vision impairment and must adapt. Glaucoma peripheral vision loss requires different degrees of adaptation. I use the procedure of adjusting the side view mirrors for optimum vision of cars in the side blind spots. I further adapt to low vision by never using a cell phone in the car, never adjusting the radio or air conditioning when the car is in motion, and refraining from eating in the car. Many drivers with normal vision are distracted by eating, using cell phones, or adjusting the radio; they operate with only 20 percent concentration on driving. With my 70 percent vision, I still operate safely by not allowing the distractions under which most fully sighted drivers operate.
It would be interesting to hear how other low-vision drivers adapt to loss of side vision or single vision. I'm searching for a side view mirror that will give two fields of vision: one section of that mirror would be designed for the left and right blind spots; the major part of the mirror would operate in the normal fashion.
Recently, I added a rearview mirror that is 6 inches wider than a normal mirror. This wider view allows any rear traffic approaching the blind spots to be picked up from the rear before they enter those spots. The mirror then allows view of the left or right passing car through a segment of the extra- wide mirror.
I would be very interested in reading articles on driving adaptations to reduced field of vision.
Dumb Laws and the White Cane Law
A good laugh is a great stress reducer, so after learning of www.dumblaws.com, I hit the Internet fully prepared to smile.
I learned, for instance, that in my state, "No one may bribe any athlete to 'rig' a game, match, tournament, etc. with the exception of wrestlers." And in one Mississippi city it is unlawful to shave in the middle of Main Street. In preparation for a visit to Lawrence, Kan., I learned that in that city, it is illegal to wear a bee in one's hat.
Since this bit of web surfing was occurring on Election Day, I decided to check out the listing of federal laws. Just ahead of the law which declares: "Persons may be placed in jail for up to five years for shooting a hole in a penny," I found the following listing: "October 15 is designated as White Cane Safety Day." This statement was followed by a link to the full text of the law.
As a cane traveler, I find the inclusion of "White Cane Safety Day" on www.dumblaws.com to be inexcusable and very disappointing. The attitude portrayed by the inclusion of such a useful law on this list is a very strong indication that the mission of ACB is not yet fulfilled. As long as someone thinks of this law as being "dumb," we must redouble our efforts to educate the public about the capabilities of people who are blind, and about the tools we must use in order to function at our maximum capacity.
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