[IMAGE DESCRIPTION:] A deaf person is kicking a hearing person off a high horse.
Artwork credit to Destiny Slater
I’ll be writing a series of articles about issues that deaf people face every day. Lately, I’ve been dealing with certain hearing people on their high horses who have many conceptions about what deaf people cannot do or shouldn’t do. Today’s article is about hearing people having the misconception that deaf people cannot drive cars.
Really? Deaf people cannot drive cars? Let me tell you something. Many deaf people are actually better drivers than hearing people are. Why do I say that? There are far less distractions for deaf people when driving a car than there is for hearing people. I’ll list a few of those distractions below – followed by a hypothetical situation that may occur as a result of those distractions.
Listening to the car stereo – Many hearing people get distracted easily listening to music in their vehicles. They could be rocking their head listening to the latest song by Ariana Grande – at full volume. Then they could be changing the station to try and find that hot new song made by Taylor Swift – at the exact moment that the car ahead of them slams on its brakes suddenly for some reason….
Texting or talking on a mobile phone while driving – God knows how many times I’ve had near misses with asshats who text or talk while driving. Just the other day, I watched a car nearly go off the road and somehow managed to correct itself. I was able to pass the driver later on- and find that she still was texting on her phone. I was like, really?
I’m not saying that deaf people don’t text while driving. I’m sure some do and I’m guilty of having done it myself in the past, but I don’t anymore after having a near miss myself a few years ago.
The main issue here are hearing people who talk on the phone while driving. Even if their eyes are on the road while driving, they still are not really paying attention – such as not noticing a ball bouncing out in the middle of the road – followed by a small child chasing after it.
Chatting with passengers in the car – Hearing drivers are always talking with their passengers. If the vehicle has passengers in the back seat, most likely a hearing driver would turn real quick to say something to his passenger – at the same time a traffic light has just changed to red at the next intersection.
The point is, hearing people are far more distracted in driving a car than deaf people are. Listening to music, talking ot texting on a phone, and chatting with passengers are some examples.
What about emergency vehicles and their sirens?? – What about them? I’m willing to bet the same hearing people who has their car stereo volume pumped all the way up can’t hear them either. Or they are too distracted to notice emergency vehicles altogether.
At the same time, when I’m driving my car, my eyes are always moving. I’m looking at the road with quick glances at my side view mirrors and rear view mirrors. I can easily see the flashing lights of an emergency vehicle approaching in my rear view mirror and will pull over at first opportunity.
I actually prefer turning off my hearing aid when I drive. The sounds around me such as my heater running, the wind blowing through, etc. all distract me from driving. I like my peace and quiet while I drive. It keeps me focused on the road.
My driving record is clean – no tickets in the last seven years. I’m 51 years old and have just three speeding tickets in my life – all when I was young and stupid. I’ve been in just three accidents – all of them not my fault. I smacked a deer once. Another time, some asshat pulled out in front of me. And the third time was winter weather related, which happens a lot to others living in the snow belt. To sum it up, yes, deaf people CAN drive – and perhaps even better than hearing people can.
Jessica Flores put up a humorous video about this subject. Go check it out.
I hope that clears up any misconceptions about deaf people driving a car. Have a great day and until next time, stay tuned 🙂