Blind teenager steps up a gear by learning to drive

Post date: 
Wednesday, 4 October 2017

A blind student’s dream of getting behind the wheel has become a reality.

Abdul-Azeez Balogun, 19, had always wanted to drive, but never thought he would be given the opportunity as he lost his sight at the age of seven due to glaucoma.

The undergraduate, who studies Aerospace Engineering at the University of the West of England (UWE), had driven before in his native Nigeria on private property with friends, but never in England.

However, Abdul-Azeez discovered Young Driver, who offer lessons to anyone aged 10 and over in 60 centres across the UK – including those with disabilities, which prevent them from legally driving on the road. Their lessons take place on private property, so normal restrictions don’t apply.  

Abdul-Azeez says: “Losing your sight doesn’t mean you don’t still want to experience the same things other people do.

“The instructors are very reassuring and direct me accurately and calmly so I feel in control. It can be quite a scary thing for both the instructor and I, as we have to trust each other, but it feels very natural.”

Abdul-Azeez’s driving instructor, Martin Wood said: “It isn’t as complicated as you might think to teach someone who is blind – you just have to think slightly differently. You have to be able to break things down into bite-sized chunks for all learners, so for a blind pupil, you have to do this in verbal steps.”

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