How can I Drive Safely if I Have Hearing Loss?Published: Apr 23, 2021 in Auto Accident, Distracted Driving, Personal Injury
Hearing loss can create new challenges and increase some driving risks. Some people might believe that a person with severe hearing loss cannot safely drive. This is not correct, and there are a variety of options available to drive safely with hearing loss. The following contains safety tips for hearing-impaired drivers.
Use a Visor Card for Communication
A visor card is a great tool for information and communication. With several traffic-related images, they allow a hearing-impaired driver to communicate more clearly with law enforcement and other emergency workers. The two types of visor cards include:
- Deaf Visor Card: This is for those who are members of the deaf community and communicate through American Sign Language (ASL).
- Hard of Hearing Visor Card: This is a little different and applies to drivers who are not deaf but rely on speech reading and hearing aids.
Follow Proper Licensing Procedures
Specific laws and procedures can vary by state and city, however, many areas allow for modifications of licenses for drivers who are deaf or hard of hearing. This may include a specially marked driver’s license that indicates the driver’s hearing limitations.
Distracted driving is one of the biggest safety issues in the United States, and it can be especially dangerous for drivers with hearing loss. It is important to limit distractions from passengers, devices, or anything that takes the driver’s eyes and attention off the road.
Additionally, signing or reading lips can lead to unsafe driving. Unsafe communication with other drivers can lead to a car accident.
Always Plan Ahead
One of the easiest and most effective ways to stay safe on the road is to make a plan ahead of time. Planning a route to avoid wrong turns and confusion can save a lot of trouble. Additionally, it is a good idea for a driver to communicate with others about when they expect to arrive. This way, a person will be aware if something is wrong.
Take Advantage of Training Resources
There are many videos and web trainings from groups, like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), that help inform drivers who are deaf or hearing impaired for how to deal with traffic stops.
What Should Hearing-Impaired Motorists Do When Pulled Over?
When any driver is pulled over, two critical steps are to remain calm and follow instructions. For drivers with hearing loss, these tips can help:
- Use a visor card to communicate clearly.
- Place visor card on the steering wheel for visibility and to quickly let the officer know the driver has hearing loss.
- Use pen and paper. The officer will always have this on hand.
- Pay close attention and ensure that all directions are followed.
How can I Avoid an Accident?
For drivers who are deaf or hard of hearing, certain steps can be done to reduce the chance of an accident:
- Keep up on regular vision checks. For those who are hard of hearing or deaf, vision is even more important for safe travel. Maintaining regular eye appointments and keeping updated prescriptions as needed are crucial steps.
- Ensure the vehicle is running properly. Hearing loss can cause a driver to miss unusual sounds from the vehicle that would be a warning to most drivers. It is best for drivers with hearing loss to have regular check-ups for their vehicles.
- Use the right mirrors. Extra wide side mirrors are designed to allow a more complete view and eliminate blind spots. These mirrors can be especially helpful for drivers with hearing loss.
- Use advanced technology. Advanced technology, like talk-to-text and spoken notifications, have made driving safer when used properly. Some vehicles now come with features that are helpful for hard of hearing drivers, like Audio-Visual Conversion and Audio-Tactile Conversion. It is good to see what accessibility options are available when purchasing a vehicle as well as looking at options to add safety technology to a current vehicle.
- Pay close attention to visual cues. For deaf or hard of hearing drivers, audible warnings, like an emergency vehicle siren or the warning bells at a train crossing, are not going to be enough. This is why it is very important to focus on visual warnings and cues. For drivers with hearing loss, emergency flashers, warning signs, and cones become much more important.
What Should I Do After a Collision?
Traffic accidents are extremely common in the United States. Sometimes, an accident might be unavoidable. When this happens, it is important to do the following:
- Check the safety of the driver and all passengers.
- Get medical attention.
- Collect information from other drivers involved.
- File a police report.
- Document what happened.
- Contact a lawyer.
St. Clair County Car Accident Lawyers at Cates Mahoney, LLC Help Injured Hearing-Impaired Car Accident Victims
If you have hearing loss and you were injured by a negligent driver, it is important to get legal representation to protect your rights. Car accidents can lead to significant losses, such as medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. A knowledgeable St. Clair County car accident lawyer at Cates Mahoney, LLC can help you build a case. For a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 618-277-3644 today. Located in Swansea, Illinois, we serve clients throughout St. Louis, Belleville, East St. Louis, Edwardsville, Granite City, Waterloo, Chester, Carbondale, St. Clair County, Madison County, Monroe County, Randolph County, and other regions throughout southern Illinois.