Visually impaired drivers get experience of a lifetime

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — He’s a three-time world champion and holds the American record in the discus, but there’s one thing 26-year-old Kevin Brousard hasn’t been able to conquer until now: driving.

“I can see some figures but details are really bad,” said Brousard. “It’s like a camera out of focus pretty much. It’s a good thing I don’t drive for real, let’s put it that way.”

Brousard is legally blind and just one of the students at Masterdrive’s Experimental Driving Clinic for the Visually Impaired.

“We’ve been doing this since 2001,” said Spencer Pace, a coach at Masterdrive. “It was the Colorado School for the Blind up in Denver that just asked if we could provide the experience. It was an excellent idea, we had the facility, we had the means to do it and we’ve been doing it ever since, every year.”

It only takes a few runs through the course before these drivers get the hang of it.

“Believe it or not, they’re fantastic at recovering skids because that’s all a feel and once they’ve got that feel they can just nail it every single time,” said Pace.

“I’ve had a smile on my face the whole day,” said Broudsard. “I’m 26 years old and never thought I’d have the opportunity to do this and it’s been an unbelievable, unbelievable experience today.”

Pace said the students look forward to this event every year.

“This is up there with skydiving as far as what they want to do and what they want to enjoy,” said Pace.

But they’re not the only ones who get excited for this day.

“For us, it’s just a reminder that not everybody gets to experience the joy or the fun of driving and it’s a big experience for both parties involved,” said Pace.

“Now, I can be a better backseat driver for sure,” laughs Brousard.

Masterdrive has been in Colorado Springs since 1986 and Pace said this is just one of the ways they like to give back to the community.

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