Got my license six years ago. Number of times I have driven independently? None. Number of times my younger sister has driven independently? Hundreds.
After some time passed and I was not driving simply because I was busy, it became I was not driving out of fear of my own and my parents. There was a large period of time that my parents did not think it was safe for me to drive and this really upset me. Dad was worried that if I was in a wreck and the other insurance company found out I had RP, we would pretty much automatically be at fault. His logic makes sense but I knew I could drive. At the fine age of 22, I went to my low vision opthamaologist and he cleared me to drive. He will write a letter stating so. He said of course I will not be able to drive at night, but I knew that part all along. When my parents are driving though, I look at the road ahead, and more often than not, I will have thought it did not look bad for me to drive at least once.
I will be taking a remedial course this summer and hope to do some basic driving after that. That will provide me a little more independence and I really long for that.
I think it is important to also share with you my experience with my first driving school. At the age of 15, I started working on getting my license. This was one year or so after I was diagnosed with RP. We did not know too terribly much at the time and I was likely in some sort of denial. I went out with a male driver one evening to do one of the in car sessions and he was an absolutely jerk. Add on my problems with night vision and when my Dad picked me up I was in tears. I did a few more sessions with a female and they were not the best either. Time ran out and I had no motivation to finish the class. At 18, I took the same class somewhere else and passed with flying colors.
Before a teen with RP starts driving it is very important they know their individual functional limitations for their safety and everybody else’s.