Color Blindness And Driving

I am red green color blind and i drive a car in one of the worst traffic countries of the world, Pakistan. I love the reaction of people on the passenger seat when i tell them that i am color blind so fasten your seat belts. Normally, i don't feel much problems being color blind as i have learned to focus more on patterns instead of colors. But driving is a bit tricky to master as a color blind considering literraly every traffic sign is color coded and not to mention the traffic lights.

How color blind see traffic Lights?

Traffic lights for me are Red, Red and muddy white. Red is also sometimes yellow so.. but that's not a big problem as i just stop at top two lights and only go at muddy white (i.e Green ). Here are the 5 ways i navigate through traffic lights as a color blind driver.

  1. It's usually not a problem to figure out traffic signals as i know that top one means stop, middle one means ready and bottom one means go. That's how a color blind mind processes traffic lights, by remembering stuff that normal vision people won't bother to remember.
  2. The real problem is those single light traffic signs, the ones that just change color, those are always difficult to judge as i can't assign top-middle-bottom rule on them. So in such cases i usually just look at other cars, if they are moving then it means it okay to go.
  3. Usually when i am driving with someone who knows about my color blindness they would just casually tell me that the traffic signal is red if i am speeding like it's a freeway.
  4. The most important thing that helps me navigate the traffic signals as color blind is the patterns, and bevaiour of other cars around me. I try to see the traffic lights first and if i am not sure about the color then i look at other cars on the road and just do whatever they are doing. Work's most of the time.
  5. Most of the time i can tell if the color i see means stop or go, my reds and greens might not be same as everyone else's but i can mostly tell if a traffic light is "my green" or "my red". Unless a traffic signal is specially designed to f*ckup with color blind people, i don't have much problem seeing traffic lights correctly.

Traffic lights at Night for Color Blind  

I would say driving at night is more challenging for me than daytime driving as there are street lights that can be misjudged as green traffic light. As i said, i see green traffic lights as muddy white, and most of the street lights are also same color so it's easy to confuse the two. This can cause serious problems for color blinds during night driving, but there are so many types of color blindness so i can't say with certainity that this is true for everyone. So far this has never caused any serious problem for me as i almost always spot the real traffic signal especially if it's red.

Ever been in accident due to my color blindness?

Fortunately, i have never been in a accident due to my color blindness but there was this one time when i mistook the full moon for a green light, so there's that. No one was harmed but it did cause an awkward situation. So i have never been in a driving accident due to my color blindness but it sure has put me in some awkward situations.

What about the driving License?

Most of the countries don't issue driving License if you have color blindness, but they usually won't know if you don't tell them. Islamabad, Capital of Pakistan, has a requirement to give medical certificate that includes a section about color blindness, so they don't issue a driving Licenseto color blind people. If you can find a doctor that won't bother with a color blind test, you can get a driving lisence as the traffic police office doesn't have any color blind test. This is different for all countries but most of the countries don't issue driving lisences to color blinds, which sucks.

I have a learner License, they didn't bother to check my color blindness for learner driving lisense. I never applied for a regular driving lisense because of my anxiety and high probability that i might be rejected. So i just renew my learner Licensewhenever it expires.Government loopholes eh.

Posted by @kamran | Last updated September 01, 2020