The Deaf Bulletin 2015 Issue 2
Proudly Deaf. Can the Deaf drive???
Deaf people the world over had to fight for the right to drive. To the hearing, the first thought that comes to mind is, how can a Deaf person drive since they cannot hear? Most countries still deny Deaf people this fundamental way of exercising independence. Hearing people must be educated that the Deaf people pose no threat on the road since driving mainly requires the sense of sight and less of hearing and most of the driving we do is guided by signs such as robots, the give way sign, stop sign and railway sign.
All our driving is largely informed by the road signs that we follow, would it not be weird to hear someone shouting I am stop before they stop or I am turning before they turn. While some Deaf people have obtained drivers licences in Zimbabwe, it has been an uphill task for them to obtain one as a result of bad attitudes. Even if the Deaf people are given the opportunity to drive they still face discrimination in some aspects of driving and many driving instructors refuse to teach them as they are very impatient with them.
For example, if they become involved in an accident, it can be harder to them to explain that they were right since many hearing people make the assumption that Deaf people can’t drive safely. Researches suggest Deaf adults have better peripheral vision than hearing people with an advantage when driving.
Many people wonder how a Deaf person can drive without being able to hear audible sounds such as a police siren, an ambulance needing the right of way, or even the sound of train coming. Some Deaf people simply pay attention to visual traffic, and also by noticing other drivers move to the side of the road is a strong indicator that an emergency vehicle is approaching.
Hearing people always wonder how a Deaf person would communicate with a police officer if pulled over the road. It is important that the Deaf are given state issued cards to let police officers know that they are Deaf and to suggest easier ways to enhance communication, such as by writing a note. However most Deaf people find the cards unnecessary due to negative attitudes by the police and some Deaf people are able to lip read.
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Other topics covered in this bulletin are:
- The Dangers of alcohol.
- My first encounter with a Deaf Person.
- Self-esteem and children who are Deaf.