Seatbelts on please: A group of Connect members go off-road driving

Off road car driving through mud

A recent post on the RNIB Connect East of England Facebook page prompted a group of blind and partially sighted people from across the region to organise an off-road driving experience. 

Community member and volunteer Suzanne had posted on the page describing how much she missed driving since losing her sight. Suzanne had been driving for over 30 years but had had to stop two years ago. She said, “I came on the [Facebook] page and just poured my heart out really…It sort of went on from there and just snowballed”.

Her post clearly struck a chord with others, as it received over 70 replies and sewed the seeds for a group to organise an off-road driving experience. As they only knew one another through the Facebook group, Suzanne asked RNIB to support her in arranging the excursion.  

The day was a huge success, with 12 people from across the East of England taking on the challenge. Some had never driven before, while others were remembering forgotten skills. 

One of the attendees, Lynda, who was new to driving said “It took me a few minutes to get my bearings, but after that I was fine”. She went on to explain how special the whole experience had been for her, “Meeting up with someone on the other end of the computer is incredible.”. She got quite emotional as she described what it was like to see other community members getting behind the wheel “It was special, actually, sitting in the back, watching someone else’s delight at something they thought they’d never do again. It is so easy to sit at home, especially when you’re first diagnosed, to sit in a little room and just be safe and actually you’re not living life then. Get out and try these things!”.

After hearing about the day on the Facebook page, other Connect members were inspired to have a go themselves and another day has even been set up by a different group. 

Suzanne was delighted with how the day had gone and said “The DVLA might have stopped me driving but there is no such word as ‘can’t’. They said ‘Oh, you can’t drive again’, but here I am driving.

You can do anything you set your mind on”.

If you’d like to join one of our regional Connect Facebook groups, click here to find your local group.