In 2021, the DVLA banned me from driving in the dark.
Yep, you read that right, I cannot drive my car after sunset, ever again.
As a child, I would tell my family, “I can’t see in the dark.” I was met with the typical parental responses of, “don’t be silly,” or “the stars are out,” and, “of course you can see, it’s not that dark.”
No one believed me.
Even when I was hysterical at being forced to walk along the tow path of a canal late one evening, my protests were ignored.
Being told, “If you’re not going to come, you can stay there then,” meant I literally was going to have to sit and wait until sunrise before I could make my way back. Of course, my family would not have let that happen, and my hand was eventually grasped to guide me hastily on our way.
I’ll never forget the surprise in their voice when I tripped over things, or stumbled into dips in the path, as they asked, “How could you not see that?”
I lost count of the number of times I was told to “eat more carrots!” Trust me, that is one of the greatest lies I’ve ever been told—I loved carrots, ate them all the time, and they never made one bit of difference.
In early adulthood I almost spent the night in a field one new years eve, after being left by friends in the dark on a footpath between bars—hilarious!
Finally in my twenties, an optician listened to me, and the technology had become available for them to look at the retinas and rods at the back of my eyes. I was referred immediately to a consultant at my local hospital.
After several years of various investigations, I was diagnosed with congenital stationary night blindness.
Voila! I could finally say, I told you I couldn’t see in the dark!
Fortunately for me, at that time the DVLA weren’t as advanced as other countries, and daylight hours licences didn’t exist in the UK. So, my life continued as it had before, but with the smug satisfaction of knowing that I had been right all along.
It had been proven that thanks to my genetics, my eyes didn’t process light correctly, so I never could, and never will be able to see in the dark.
Thankfully, my boyfriend was more sympathetic than my family had been, and in 2020, he bought me my first reliable, practical torch—an Olight S2R Baton. Hoorah! He had just changed my life!
I finally felt empowered to walk at night, with the confidence that I would never be stranded in a field at 1am again.
Technology has progressed and this year the DVLA wrote to me to advise that they have now imposed a restriction on my driver’s licence; so, I can no longer drive when it’s dark.
Three olanterns, several obulbs and a few more olights later and not only can I always see in the dark, but I’m already a Platinum O-Fan Club member too.
⑦ Share My Story in 2021
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