North East Sensory Services

15 May 2017

Drivers invited to drive blind at Aberdeenshire track

Blind people are inviting people to wear a blindfold and take part in an exhilarating blind driving event in Aberdeenshire.

North East Sensory Services (NESS), which has offices in Aberdeen, Elgin and Dundee, is holding its annual ‘Drive of your Life’ event on Sunday 11th June 2017, at the Grampian Transport Museum track in Alford.

The event will enable blind and blindfolded drivers to drive around the track, accompanied by qualified driving instructors from the Inverurie and District Driving Schools Association.

NESS, which has been supporting people in the North-east since 1879, provides care and advice to people who have sight and/or hearing loss.

The Drive of your Life event was developed by NESS following requests from visually impaired men and women who no longer drive, but miss the thrill of getting behind the wheel. The popular event has been extended this year to encourage people with full sight to experience life without vision in an extreme, yet safe, environment.

Neil Skene, fundraising co-ordinator for NESS, who has been blind since he was a child, said: “Driving a car when you are blind or have limited sight is an incredible experience. Whether you are blind and have never driven, had to give up driving, or are fully sighted wearing a blindfold, getting behind the wheel without sight can be both frightening and exciting.

“For people who did drive, but had to stop due to a loss of eyesight, the feeling of being in control of a car again can be very powerful. Giving up driving can represent a substantial loss of independence, affecting not just your job, but also your social life and leisure activities. Being able to drive again brings back incredible memories and can be great fun. We have seen adults in tears after being able to drive for the first time in 30 years.”

Graham Findlay, Chief Executive of NESS, has himself enjoyed the Drive Of Your Life experience. “It’s been over 25 years since I reluctantly gave up driving, but your body and mind don’t forget those basic skills, and as soon as I got behind the wheel, I felt like I had never stopped. 

“I’m looking forward to going along to the Grampian Transport Museum, as I currently hold the NESS speed record of 65 mph on the track.”

This event must be pre-booked with a charge of £15 per person, either at www.nesensoryservices.org or by emaili susan.hewitt@nesensoryservices.org or on 0345 271 2345.