From Ruth Hollingshead, Carisbrooke:

This is a tricky one because the problem I am experiencing is actually being  caused by consideration and keenness to be kind and helpful, but it is an issue that is occurring more and more, often on a daily basis.

I am a guide dog owner, and obviously work my dog to help me navigate my  routes and negotiate the shops and pavements in my area.

Many people are not aware that while guide dogs are taught to locate crossings and tactile pavement at junctions, they do not tell the owner when to cross the road.

They do not look out for the lights changing colour or listen out for the beep at the traffic lights; instead they are trained to override the owner if it is not safe.

Blind and visually impaired people use the rotating cone under the control box on the pelican crossings to tell when the lights change, and we then tell our dogs to cross.

However, if it is not safe, then the dog will refuse to cross.

Guide dogs are trained not to cross in front of a car with its engine running, unless it is at a crossing, and this brings me on to my problem.

More and more, I am finding drivers are stopping short of junctions, or pulling up in the road to let me cross, and strangely enough this is often accompanied by a flash of their headlights or wave, so I have been told!

While the driver thinks they are doing a good deed, letting the blind person cross the road, they are actually making it unsafe. 

Not only will my dog not cross in front of the car, but also the noise of the engine means I am unable to hear what the other road users are doing, I also do not know what the driver is doing. 

If all I can hear is an engine, I don’t know whether the driver is parking, reversing into a drive, letting a passenger out, or letting another vehicle pass.

Therefore, I would just like to end by saying thank you for your consideration but please just carry on with your manoeuvre and be mindful when I, or any other guide dog owner, waves you on, or steps back from the kerb, we are not being difficult or ungrateful, we are using the mobility tactics we have been taught and keeping ourselves safe.

Ruth worked with Isle of Wight charity Sight for Wight to make this video on the topic:

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