BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Taking a drive in a car is, for many of us, something we often take for granted. But for some, getting behind the wheel seems impossible — until now.
Drivers ed, where your senses–on high alert.
“Back to the left. Not a lot, not a lot, back to the left.”
Instructor Chip Sheehan is giving instruction to students who are missing something crucial for driving — their vision.
“Some have already driven before and miss the feeling of driving. They really have a great opportunity to get behind the wheel,” says Sheehan.
Frederick Culp has a genetic disease that makes his visual field extremely small. This was his very first time behind the wheel.
“It was one of the most exhilarating and trusting things I’ve ever done,” says Culp.
“If you can do that and rely on other people, you can also, tap into your own skills and ability and do what you need to do to be a successful person,” he says.
Chip Sheehan is retired from the secret service. He started the driving school Street Smarts and offers this one-day driving course for Blind Industries and Services of Maryland.
“This is more or less a confidence class, it’s not going to be driving out in the ambient traffic,” says Sheehan.
Students are building self-esteem, and overcoming a giant obstacle — doing something they never thought was possible.
“You have to rely on other people to give you guidance in a vehicle that’s moving 30-40 miles per hour,” says Culp. “It makes you know that you can do a lot more.”
The course was first offered three years ago. Since then, the number of participants has doubled.
Street Smarts Maryland also does Drivers Ed at 15 area high schools.