Driving 200 MPH Is Terrifying – Imagine Doing it As a Blind Man
Anyone that’s been on the ground in something that reaches speeds in excess of 200 mph can attest to how quickly everything passes you by. Going 100 mph is considered dangerous, so imagine going twice that speed. If anything goes wrong, it doesn’t matter how quickly you react; you likely won’t survive an accident. If you’re operating a vehicle at 200 mph, you need all of the senses working harmoniously to mitigate potential dangers.
Knowing what can go wrong at any second, it takes a special kind of person to attempt that, even without a disability, so imagine doing this without your sight. When we saw the story from Motorbiscuit this morning about a man who lost his sight looking to break a 200 + MPH record driving an 800 horsepower Corvette, we were stunned. We assume you had a similar reaction.
In an ironic twist to the story, racing is what caused Dan Parker’s blindness. However, for those with the need for speed, that itch doesn’t magically disappear because of an accident. To conquer your fears, you have to, as they say, “get back on the horse” and finish what you started. He did just that, and according to the National Federation of the Blind, Mr. Parker is the first person to drive a car at 50 mph, 100 mph, and 150 mph in his tricked-out Corvette. You see where this is going.
Parker To Achieve Title of Fastest Blind Person on Earth
Let us be the first to say – there are many people with 20/20 vision who wouldn’t attempt such an incredible record. Imagine taking away, arguably, the most important sense to a human and attempting such an incredible feat. All that can be said about this is “wow.”
According to The Drive, Parker lost his sight in 2012 after he was involved in a drag racing crash in his 1963 Corvette. In many cases, people that are disabled by an accident not only lose their ability to function the way they used to, but they lose the ability to follow their dreams and engage in their passions. However, Mr. Parker is special and isn’t letting his disability slow him down. He’s doing something others have only experienced in their wildest dreams – or nightmares, depending on how you look at it.
You have to wonder what that sensation feels like – hurling down a drag strip at 200 mph, knowing you’re in control but not seeing it. We know the custom Corvette transmits messages he can hear, but still, what an odd sensation. Obviously, he’s been practicing and knows what to expect, but for others who haven’t, and won’t, experiencing such a sensation, you can only wonder. To be blunt, we’ll pass on that one.
The Objective? Reach 200 MPH
The objective of this run is to reach speeds of 200.5 mph while blindfolded. However, in this case, Parker won’t need a blindfold, and he’ll be the first person to try and reach 200.5 mph, which is the Guinness World Record.
Parker looks to achieve this in his 800 horsepower Corvette. He told Automotive News recently that “my 2008 Corvette is a purpose-built race car and I designed every aspect of it. With the work of the Blind Driver Challenge, we will not only demonstrate that a blind person can drive a vehicle safely, but that we can do it at over 200 mph. Together we hope to inspire blind people and to demonstrate our capacity, make history by setting a new world record, and show the potential of new technology like self-driving cars to help blind people break barriers in everyday mobility.”
The Corvette Has a Specialized Guidance System
General Motors is using this opportunity with their Cruise Division to help Mr. Parker reach this world record. His Corvette boasts a specialized guidance system, which provides auditory cues for Parker that he can pick up on and respond to as needed. Parker also owns a business called The Blind Machinist, where he uses a similar system for machine work in his home shop.
Mr. Parker is also on the record saying that he’s even more motivated to bring the record back home. As it stands, the record belongs to a Brit, so “patriotism” is another factor pushing him to accomplish such a terrifyingly incredible goal. However, his primary motivator is to prove to others not to let their blindness or other disabilities hold them back from doing what they love.
For now, we’ll be on the sidelines rooting for Mr. Parker to safely achieve this goal. He’s living proof that overcoming a disability is possible, and he’s a role model to anyone, disabled or not, to follow their dreams.