FAQ Categories: Getting Around

Can I still use public transport?

Public transport can be a great option for a blind or partially sighted person to get around independently. There are many local organisations that offer free training programmes that will teach you how to plan your journey, hail a bus, and give you the skills to use public transport with confidence. Train operators across the UK provide guided travel assistance for people with sight loss or other disabilities, although most require advanced notice. Visit the Travel and Mobility section of the RNIB’s website for more information and first-hand accounts of traveling as a blind or partially sighted...

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Can I keep my driver’s license?

Your ophthalmologist will be able to determine whether you can continue driving based on your level of sight loss. You will also need to tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) about your eye condition so they can ensure you can fulfil the basic eyesight requirements for operating a motor vehicle. The DVLA will then decide whether you can keep your driver’s license, issue you with a new license for a limited period subject to a review of your condition, or take away your license altogether. If you do lose your license, it is possible to get it back if your eye condition improves. Visit the Driving section of the RNIB’s website for more information about driving with an eye...

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How does a blind or partially sighted person know when it’s safe to cross the street?

A blind or partially sighted person can tell when it is safe to cross the street by listening to the sounds of the traffic. If there is a light at the intersection, it’s easy to hear cars slowing to a stop or when they move off from a stationary position. There is often a beep when the light turns green, and many traffic light poles also have a cone at the bottom, which vibrates when the light changes. If there is no light, you can simply listen to hear if there are any cars...

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Is it best to use a white cane or a dog?

This is entirely a matter of personal choice. Some blind people like using canes better, and some enjoy using dogs. No matter your preference, the most important thing is that you are able to travel as independently as...

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How do I get around?

There are many ways for a blind or partially sighted person to get from point A to point B and beyond. Many people with sight loss use white canes when walking to help them locate steps, curbs, streets, driveways, doorways or any obstacles in their path. There are three types of white canes: Symbol cane: A symbol cane is used to let others know that you have a visual impairment. These are held, rather than used to find obstacles in your path, and are particularly useful in crowded public places. Guide cane: A guide cane is held diagonally across the body to help you find obstacles such as kerbs and steps. Long cane: A long cane extends to about two steps ahead of your feet as you walk to help you find your way and avoid obstacles. People who have been trained to use one usually roll or tap it from side to side. Some blind people prefer to use a guide dog to get around. These dogs are specially trained to move around things, go through doorways, and stop at curbs and stairs. The blind person using the dog is always in charge and must tell the dog what to...

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