On my 16th birthday, I asked my mum if I could drive home to earn some night driving hours on my permit. It was raining lightly as I pulled up to a green light where I needed to make a left turn. I was having a hard time judging how far away the oncoming cars were and I asked my mum, who was in the passenger seat, is it OK to turn?
She said it was, but I was still feeling unsure and rather slowly committed to the turn. I remember there were so many oncoming lights and I couldn’t tell where the oncoming traffic was. My mum started yelling at me to speed up and my step-father in the back seat started yelling at me to stop. Caught in indecision I did neither.
The wreck nearly totaled my mum’s car. My mum and step-dad were fine, but I had a laceration on my lip that required stitches, and still shows up as a faint scar. The driver of the other car had diabetes and went into anaphylactic shock. Two years later, he sued us for medical damages until our insurance company agreed to pay out the $100k limit.
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A few months after the accident we learned I had keratoconus. One of the primary symptoms of keratoconus is the presentation of a large aura around bright lights, and it’s worse in the rain. I didn’t know enough about driving at night to know that what I seeing wasn’t normal. The change in vision was so slow I never realised I had a problem.
My mum and I went to our local optometrist to get my glasses prescription upgraded and he suggested we go find a specialist because he suspected I had keratoconus. Later on, my specialist was greatly surprised that the optometrist had correctly diagnosed this rare corneal disease.