Safety Driving Tips for Hearing-Impaired Drivers
According to a report on the effects of medical conditions on driving performance, there are a few data that indicate hearing impairments affect driving ability.
Driving may be challenging to people who are hearing impaired, but it shouldn’t stop them from using their car. You definitely should take extra precautions because of your medical condition to be safe on the road. You can still get behind the wheel so long as you are not a reckless driver.
Keep a Deaf Visor Card
A deaf visor card is used by a hearing-impaired driver when communicating with law enforcement. They are for people who are culturally deaf; they use sign language as their primary means to communicate with people.
The purpose of a visor card is to let the police know that you have hearing loss. This has to be placed where it’s visible by the police so you wouldn’t have to keep looking for your visor card in a wallet or somewhere else. It’s called a visor as the card is usually attached to a sun visor. That way the police can clearly see it and he wouldn’t have to ask you a lot of questions.
When you are pulled over by the police, follow these steps:
1. Calmly pull over and stop at a good location. Choose a spot that is not dark. If possible, stop at a spot where there is a street lamp. Any lighted area will do too.
2. Flip your sun visor down and swing it over so the police can clearly see your visor card in the side window. Don’t forget to open your window all the way so the police can clearly see you and the card.
3. Try not to do anything else. Instead, place your hands on the steering wheel before the police approach you. Law enforcement would want you to do this at all times. As much as possible, just keep your hands on the steering wheel until you have fully established communication with the officer.
The next step is to have the police officer remove the visor card for instructions on how to communicate with you effectively.
Get a Special Driver’s License
A new law in Florida allows drivers to identify themselves as hearing-impaired when they renew their driver’s license. Their main goal is to alleviate tension with law enforcement.
If you live in Florida, consider getting this special driver’s license, to make it easier for you to communicate with the police. With a special driver’s license, the police officers would be able to identify that the driver is hearing impaired by just looking at their license plates.
This can significantly reduce other problems that may come up.
It’s incredibly important for drivers especially those that are hearing impaired to remove all distractions on the road. Avoid using your cellphone while driving — even while just talking to someone. As much as possible, refrain from talking to anyone and focus your attention only on the road. Also, avoid listening to music or on the radio. By eliminating distractions, we mean even those minor things that may divert your attention to something else.
Do Not Talk to Other Drivers
People who are hearing impaired may have a problem communicating with other drivers even with sign language. But should you need to really communicate, simply pull over and talk only when you have properly parked your car at a safe location.
Be Prepared at All Times
Because you are hearing impaired, consider going to an opthalmologist to have your eyes checked. You need to make sure that you have perfect vision. As much as possible, speak with an optometrist about getting glasses to make sure that you can clearly see. Also, consider investing in high-quality mirrors for your car. If possible, consider buying an extra-wide side-view mirror for extended viewing.
You need to have your car checked especially when you are traveling long distances. Schedule regular maintenance with your car to ensure they run efficiently and you won’t have problems down the road. If you think there might be some issues with your car, visit the shop right immediately so minor problems are fixed before they become major emergencies.
Do use your GPS as it’s very helpful when you traveling. Place it somewhere accessible in your car and make sure it doesn’t distract you.
Before you go, do ensure that your hearing aids are working and they have fresh batteries. Get spare batteries just in case. Also, visit your doctor regularly for check-ups and maintenance of your hearing aids.
Focus only on Driving
If you have passengers, ask them to keep quiet or speak quietly so you do not get distracted. Also, do not open the windows to reduce noise inside the car. Most importantly, avoid eating or texting until you reach your destination. Stay safe on the road by focusing your attention only on your driving and nothing else. If there is something is bothering you, consider postponing your appointment or travel. You can also ask someone else to drive for you, just in case.
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