Scottish War Blinded member Jim McCormack spent many happy years behind the wheel as a bus driver following service in the RAF. To Jim driving was a hobby rather than a job, and when his sight deteriorated he was devastated to lose his licence.
Jim lost the ability to utilise peripheral vision as a result of Glaucoma, and now relies solely on central vision to assist with day-to-day independent living. Although he may not be able to drive on public roads, a special Knockhill experience was organised by Scottish War Blinded to get Jim back behind the wheel.
As we arrived at Knockhill we were greeted by dense fog and poor light, at that moment it appeared doubtful Jim would get onto the track. However, after thirty minutes, the fog cleared and a window of opportunity presented itself. Jim was escorted to the Pit Lane by Knockhill Driving Instructor Rory Butcher.
Rory took Jim around the track highlighting the cone system used at Knockhill to guide drivers around the circuit using both speed and control. It was then Jim’s turn to get behind the wheel, who enjoyed the opportunity to navigate a challenging circuit in wet conditions.
As the fog once again descended, the session was called to a halt when Jim could no longer make out the markers. However, that didn’t seem to matter for Jim who had clearly loved every minute back behind the wheel.
“I can describe it in two words, absolutely fantastic! I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and certainly hope to return in the near future.”
Knockhill Driving Instructor Rory Butcher said:
“It was incredible how Jim adapted to the conditions, especially with a visual impairment. After two laps I felt really comfortable and we started to talk generally rather than provide constant instruction.”
Jim served in the RAF and developed significant sight loss in subsequent later life