Are your weaknesses really that weak?
We all have strengths and we all have weaknesses. It doesn’t seem to matter who we are, it just seems that way especially when you compare yourself to other people. However, to some people you may have a weakness, but in reality it’s not a weakness; it’s just a difference of ability.
I once had a student who had no strength in her right leg. She pretty much dragged her leg while she walked. How would she be able to use the gas pedal and brake pedal if she had no strength in her leg? Since she had very little driving experience, she wasn’t quite used to having to use her right foot on the pedals. I suggested she shift slightly in her seat so she’s on a slight angle toward her right. This made it easier for her to use her left foot on the gas and brake. Keep in mind that vehicles are designed for the driver to use their right foot on the pedals. I know that would seem weird for an experienced driver to do, but this adjustment worked for my student.
The important thing to remember is to make adjustments if you have difficulties or physical disabilities. Not everyone is the same, so why act and drive the same way? I also had a student who was hearing impaired. She wore two hearing aids and asked that I spoke louder than I would normally do. It was easy for me to do, but to make sure she heard me; I made sure the windows were always up. No need to have outside traffic noise interfere with her ability to listen. The only difficult part was to lower the volume of my voice when I got to my next student. I didn’t want them to think I was raising my voice to them.
What if you have visibility issues? I’m not talking about poor eyesight that requires glasses; I’m talking about having the loss of sight in one eye. Losing the sight in one eye means you may have difficulty with depth perception and difficulty with your peripheral or fringe vision. To compensate for this, you’ll need to keep moving your eyes over a wide scene; from building to building every couple of seconds. This will help compensate for your loss of vision since you’ll have many chances to see other drivers, pedestrians, road signs, etc.
If you have the loss of sight in your left eye for example, you can still easily check your right blind spot; but checking the left blind spot becomes more difficult. To do this safely, you’ll need to turn your head a little more than the usual 90 degrees so that your right eye can pick up any vehicles sitting there. It would also be a good idea to check your mirrors every few seconds. This will give you more information of other vehicles entering into your blind spot. Learning how to use your vision effectively will help you stay up to date with the changing traffic scene, even if you only have sight in one eye.
If you have poor use of your legs and have essentially no strength in them, you may want to investigate the use of hand operated controls. One of the instructors in our local Young Drivers of Canada centre has these in his training vehicle. It can allow the driver to operate the gas and brake with their hand instead of their foot. The initial cost may be high, but spread out over time it can allow the driver the opportunity to continue driving and keep their mobility.
Making these adjustments will mean anyone can learn to drive safely. You only have to be willing to think outside the box.