It’s official. I turned fifteen and a half years old this week. You know what that means. I am now old enough to get my driver’s permit. That’s a good thing, right? Exciting. The key to independence behind the wheel of your mom’s stinky old duct-tape-is-holding-it-together van. The day every teenager dreams of until it comes. I should be bouncing off the walls and screaming joyously at the top of my lungs. Well . . . it’s a little more complicated than that, and by complicated, I mean terrifying.
I have always wondered in the back of my head if I would even be able to drive with my low vision. Well, last month my eye doctor gave me the “okay” on getting my driver’s license. With some restriction of course. One of which will be no night-time driving. The problem about getting my driver’s license though is: Do I want to?
I have discussed it with my mom and we both agreed that I should get my license if for no other reason than just to have it. Having a driver’s license does not, however, mean that I have to use it. To be honest, I probably won’t unless I absolutely have to. It’s just too overwhelming.
In my head I keep running through everything that could go wrong when I am driving. What if I miss a speed limit sign and get pulled over? If I don’t see a squirrel or bird in the middle of the road and accidentally run it over? Or if someone pulls out in front of me and I don’t see them fast enough to hit the brakes? I could get in an accident. Someone could get hurt.
Someone could die.
Not just me but other drivers, too. I could accidentally cause another person harm or even kill them. That is probably the most terrifying thought I have ever had. It might seem a little dramatic, but it is not really that impossible. People get in wrecks all the time. Why not me?
These thoughts may run through every young driver’s head, but for me it is a thousand times more worrying. My low vision is something I cannot control, and I really do worry about the challenges it could create when I am behind the wheel of a car. Not to mention my anxiety could cause some major problems on the road. My height as well. I am less than five feet tall. Do you know how awkward it is to sit in the driver’s seat of a car when you are that short? Straining to see out the windshield while stretching your legs to try and reach the pedals? Not fun.
All these factors jumbled together just does not add up to an optimistic attitude towards driving. As much as I might try, I cannot control my worries anymore than I can prepare for what is coming when I get behind the wheel of a car. I just have to do it and hope for the best. It is not like I am going into this alone either. I have several experienced drivers around me, such as my parents and my older sister to help me through this. I just hope I can make it out of this alive, and that everybody else does too. 😉