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Master Driving With One Hand
New drivers have a difficult time driving with one hand on the wheel while trying to find the light switch with the other. Mastering driving with one hand is key to operating your car safely.
One of the key things drivers should know is to always be prepared by knowing the road and which route to take and reducing distractions while driving. One of those distractions is taking your eyes OR mind off the road and fumbling to change CDs or the stations on the car radio, adjusting the AC/heating controls, or talking on a cell phone (a big no-no for new drivers).
Some drivers, especially new drivers or those with disabilities, may even opt to not play the radio while driving until they build up their driving skills, which is what I did for the first month or two until I felt more confident and learned where all the controls are on the dash and radio.
Make it a point to learn to reach for these controls while you drive. Learning to drive with one hand is key and a necessity and will come naturally after a little practice. Please do not misunderstand, driving with one hand is only done briefly to open a window... and then you should return both hands to the wheel. First things first, do not try this by yourself. Do this with your driving instructor or a trusted friend in the passenger seat who can take the wheel if need be.
Getting to know your car's controls:
While the car is parked and NOT moving look at your dashboard and around the door handles and get acquainted with all the controls, what they do and where they are. It's probably a great idea to look at your car's manual so that you know what every control does.
The most important controls to be able to find and use with one hand will be:
- turn signals
- headlight / parking lights
- windshield wipers
- hazard or four-way flashers
- temperature controls for the heating and air conditioning
- volume and tuning for the radio
- place where you keep change for tolls
While still parked imagine that you are driving and reach out and touch all the controls. Do it again without looking at them. Repeat this and you'll quickly gain confidence and a feel for all the buttons and controls. Just get familiar where they are so that when you drive you shouldn't need to take you eyes off the road.
Now it's time to hit the road:
While driving, begin by lowering your driver's side window with your left hand as you keep the car steady with your right. You shouldn't even have to look for the button or crank. Just reach out and feel for it as you look straight ahead and drive.
Now switch hands and feel for the temperature controls with you right hand while looking straight ahead. Do the same for all the other controls. Don't worry if you are nervous, just keep practicing and it will become second nature.
We hope this has helped you gain the confidence to drive and use all the controls in your car. Please share any experiences or tips with us below.
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Please understand that not every person with low vision is able to drive. This is a very serious matter that needs to be discussed with those close to you and your low vision doctor. Not only must you have vision good enough for doctors to correct, but you must also be willing to accept the challenge and go through what can be a long and arduous process that can last a year or more. This site is NOT a medical or an authoritative driving site nor affiliated with any and information contained in it does not override professional advice. Every person has different needs and capabilities so use this site merely as a stepping stone and discuss everything with your doctor, DMV official, auto mechanic... first! See the many topics below and feel free to add your driving comments and share your experience. If you know of anyone who would benefit from this site please pass it on to them.