Follow TV Tropes


Blind Driving

Go To
Where we're going, we won't need eyes!

Truman: (Shuts his eyes) Give me your hand.
Meryl: Sweetie-
Truman: (Puts her hand on the wheel as he accelerates) Drive!

A blind (or blindfolded) person is driving a vehicle (usually a car).

This can happen for a number of reasons. The blind person may be in a dire situation and there is no one else around who can drive them to safety. Or they could be showing off their skills. Or they may be doing it for the thrill. Or they may not even realise that they're blind.

In most cases, there's someone who can see the way who gives them directions, either via telephone/walkie-talkie or from inside the vehicle itself. In the latter case, hilarity often ensues from the passenger's panicked reactions.

A subtrope of Are You Sure You Can Drive This Thing? Frequently overlaps with Drives Like Crazy, though most of the perpetrators of that trope don't have this trope as an excuse. See Driver Faces Passenger for drivers who just don't watch the road.

In Real Life, driving in traffic blinded (even temporarily as by sunlight or vision being blocked by a muddy or broken windshield or dense fog) is a very common cause of accidents (as in, almost every year, there are multi-car pileup crashes resulting from blizzards, dense fog, or dust storms — if you hear of a crash involving more than ten cars, it's almost certainly due to the drivers not being able to see the road ahead). While being guided can work (see below), that depends on your guide passenger being a capable, sober driver himself or herself, and is only good for when dazzled by sunlight or lights.

The magician's blindfolded driving trick is under Real Life in Blindfolded Vision.


    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 
  • During the early days of Justice Society of America, Dr. Mid-Nite was sometimes shown to drive the car. While Mid-Nite can technically see due to a special visor that plays off the fact that he can only see in total darkness, there's no way he'd ever get a proper license.
  • In the comic book series Top 10 there's a blind taxi driver that steers by fate. He and his passengers always arrive where they need to be, but other people in the way... not so much.

    Comic Strips 
  • One Dilbert comic has the Pointy-Haired Boss driving to a meeting at a classified location. Because the location is so secret, everyone in the car - including the boss - is blindfolded. He mentions that this can get very noisy.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Bird Box involves monsters who drive insane anyone who looks at them. A group of survivors have to leave their house to get supplies from the supermarket, so they paint over the windows of a car and navigate using the satnav and parking proximity detectors.
  • Blind Fury. When the only other eligible adult breaks her glasses, the Blind Weaponmaster protagonist gets behind the wheel to escape some bad guys, while taking instructions from a kid.
    Driver in next lane: What's the matter, jack-off! You blind?!!
    Nick: Yeah!
    Driver: Holly shit!
  • In Delirious, Jack blindfolds himself to play "a little game called 'Trust'." He drives at high speed while Laura frantically warns him about upcoming threats. They make out fine. Later, Laura blindfolds Dennis to do the same. It doesn't go so well.
  • A variation occurs in Firebirds. When Preston has trouble using the Apache's monocular night vision display, his instructor's solution is to tape a toy periscope (and a pair of bright red panties) over his eyes and have him try to drive a Jeep. While he can technically see through the periscope, Preston has so little peripheral vision that he needs constant directions to keep from crashing.
  • A variation in The Hunt for Red October when the eponymous submarine dodges potential pursuers by navigating at high speed a series of undersea canyons that the Soviet Navy have extensively surveyed.
    Kamarov: Stop pissing, Yuri. Give me a stopwatch and a map, and I'll fly the Alps in a plane with no windows.
    Yuri: If the map is accurate enough...
  • In Nerve, Ian is dared to ride his motorbike through the city blindfolded at 60 mph, using Vee to steer his body. The blindfolding is done by giving him a crash helmet with he visor completely covered in stickers.
  • In Percy Jackson: The Sea of Monsters, the Gray Sisters do this. It would have been creepy enough even if they didn't Drive Like Crazy.
  • In the Australian movie Proof, Martin drives this way with his friend Andy giving him instructions.
  • Spy Hard has a scene spoofing Speed in which Ray Charles is driving the bus.
  • In Scent of a Woman, the blind protagonist does this at top speed, following directions from his terrified young friend in the passenger seat. And when he is pulled over, he talks his way out of a ticket with the cop never realizing his blindness.
  • In See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Wally, who is blind, does this, following Dave's directions.
  • In Sneakers, Whistler, who is blind, has to drive a truck for a small distance, following directions via walkie-talkie.
  • In Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Ricky's dad makes him drive while blindfolded. It doesn't go well.
  • The Truman Show: Invoked. When Truman comes across a bridge that runs over a body of water, he loses the confidence to continue as his wife tries to tell him to turn around. Truman pretends to ask for a comforting hand before he places her hand on the wheel as he accelerates blindly over the bridge.

  • In Bílá hůl ráže 7,62note , a short Sci-Fi horror story by Czech author Ondřej Neff, in which the aliens try to invade the Earth by overwriting the human DNA by their own through the visual Brown Note, the authorities recruit a blind man as the exterminator to clean up the research institute captured by aliens through the camera feed of the space probe they've hijacked.note  The hero worked as a stunt driver before that.
  • Tales of the Ketty Jay. In order to reach the secret Sky Pirate port of Retribution Falls, the crew of the Ketty Jay have to blind-fly their Cool Airship through mist-shrouded ravines using a map and a Magic Compass that they've stolen from a rival with no idea of how to use the latter. And then there's the aerial minefield and the fumes that cause anyone not wearing a breathing mask to hallucinate.
  • Blind Flight by Hilary Milton. 13-year-old Debbie who has been blind for a year goes up with her uncle in his small plane. An accident leaves her uncle unconscious and a very frightened Debbie flying the plane.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Le cœur a ses raisons, a (temporarily) blind Brett drives a car, screaming to bystanders to get out of the way and agitating his white cane out of the window just. It is as hilarious as it sounds.
    Brett: "Get out of the way, I'm a gynecologist!"
  • In the telenovela Código Postal, Rafael has been blind since early childhood due to an accident. His Love Interest Marcela helps him to drive a car through the neighborhood. They get pulled over by a cop because they're driving unusually slowly, but Rafael manages to face toward the cop and bluff his way out of a ticket or worse by claiming he was simply being careful. The cop lets them go without asking for a driver's license or confirming Rafael's identity and leaves without ever realizing that Rafael was blind. Rafael and Marcela share some laughs about it with their friends, and it gets a Continuity Nod later on in the series.
  • On Curfew, pregnant Faith sets a trap for the other racers and takes out a few. When Team Awesome comes upon it, El Capitano drives them through while wearing a sleeping mask. ("I drive better this way.") He drives through and manages to avoid hitting the other cars. (He doesn't have to worry about Faith shooting at him because she's gone into labor.) After he makes it through, Joker Jones compliments him on following his instincts.
  • In Drake & Josh after Helen gets laser eye surgery, she arrives at the theater and gives the keys to Josh.
    Josh: You drove here when you couldn't see!
    Helen: Yeah, not one of my better ideas.
  • One episode of MacGyver (1985) featured Mac's hands having been injured and Pete being temporarily blinded. So they cooperate to escape from a sticky situation with Pete's hands on the wheel and Mac telling him where to go. (This was before actor Dana Eclar actually went blind, and the character Pete Thornton did as well.)
  • Happens twice in The Mentalist, both times by the title character. The first time he is temporarily blind and guided by Grace in the passenger seat, while the second time he is blindfolded and guided by the unconscious reactions of Walter Mashburn in the passenger seat. Surprisingly, he fares much better in the latter case.
  • Tested by MythBusters and confirmed, as people have tried this in real life. Just make sure the person giving directions isn't drunk, because then the driver will drive as if he/she were also drunk.
  • In Riget - in an ambulance, against the traffic, with orderlies and med students placing bets on the outcome.
  • Subverted in the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation; Geordi, the helmsman for that season, is in fact blind by birth, but he uses assistive technology that gives him a form of vision (one that is in some ways better — at least in the sense of greater visual abilities — than natural vision), so he's not actually flying the ship without sight.
  • Top Gear:
    • Season 5, episode 6 features Jeremy Clarkson coaching Billy Baxter, a blind veteran of the British Royal Horse Artillery, around the track in the Suzuki Liana to prove that Richard Whiteley (who held the record for the slowest lap at the time) really is a bad driver. The blind man went a full four seconds faster.
    • The post-apocalypse episode has a challenge where the hosts have to navigate their way from point A to point B using only their GPS, as the car's windows were blacked out. Among other things, they ended up going right through a chain-link fence at one point.
  • Top Gear (US) has this in the second episode. They held a challenge to see who could drift better: Adam, Rutledge, or a blind man coached by Tanner. The blind man and Tanner won.

  • In the "Weird Al" Yankovic song "Everything You Know is Wrong", the singer is driving on the freeway with a rabid wolverine in his underwear (as you do) when a backseat passenger decides it's time to play "Guess Who?" and puts his hands over the driver's eyes. The driver makes 10 guesses before the car crashes into a truck.

    Video Games 
  • Woozie in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has a version — he's really good at racing around designed tracks (like the race where CJ first meets him), but regular driving tends eat up a lot of time (his right-hand man, after CJ asked where Woozie was, said that he insisted on driving himself. "Could be anywhere.")
  • Iron Lung has the Player Character placed in a submersible in an ocean of blood. Because the depths the capsule must reach are beyond what it's rated for, the window is sealed up, forcing you to navigate by a proximity detector and map coordinates. Your only hints as to what's outside are your ears and a black-and-white camera attached to the front.
  • Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway adds Avatar's Toph Beifong, a blind earthbender who 'sees' by sensing vibrations in the ground with her feet, to its roster of drivers. Exactly how she drives when her feet aren't touching the ground goes completely unexplained. This is actually lampshaded by one of her losing quotes:
    "Well, what did you expect? I CAN'T SEE THE ROAD!"

    Western Animation 
  • In The Boondocks, Stinkmeaner is blind and such an asshole that he drives himself and doesn't care what he crashes into.
  • Chowder once has a Magoo-esque character driving across the city, with police giving chase, and crashing into Mung Daal's kitchen, mistaking it for his home.
  • An early episode of Family Guy opened with a blindfolded Peter gushing about how he couldn't wait for his birthday party. Lois tells him to take off the blindfold from off-screen and he protests that it would ruin the surprise. It then pans out to reveal that he's the one driving.
  • Gravity Falls: This gem (for context, the twins are both blindfolded in the back of Stan's car):
    Dipper: Grunkle Stan? Are you wearing a blindfold?
    Stan: No, but with the cataracts, I may as well be! What is that, a woodpecker? (drives straight through a guardrail)
  • Naturally, this happens to Mr. Magoo every time he goes driving. In "Magoo's Puddle Jumper" he manages to drive his car into the ocean but luckily for him, the car is watertight.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants
    • SpongeBob has to learn a driving course blindfolded as part of a Drill Sergeant Nasty's Imposed Handicap Training from Hell. Unfortunately, he can't drive without being blindfolded afterwards.
    • In an earlier episode SpongeBob gets directions from Patrick over walkie-talkie in order to pass his driving test — not blindfolded, however.
  • In Star Wars Rebels, Kanan Jarrus can pilot a speeder bike after being blinded, courtesy of the Force.

    Real Life 
  • Ray Charles used to drive a moped in his youth. After he was blinded.
  • The Ouninpohja stage of Neste Oil Rally Finland is one of the most prestigious special stages in rallying, known for its high-speed jumps and sweeping corners, and the fact that Timo Mäkinen once drove this stage with his bonnet open.
  • In the US at least, there is a tiny overlap between the upper limit of legal blindness and the lower limit of vision needed to drive. This usually involves heavy—often self-imposed—restrictions, such as keeping to neighborhood streets.
  • Driving a tank or other enclosed armored vehicle while “buttoned up”, i.e. with all visors and hatches closed for maximum protection, is at best a downplayed and at worst a literal example. Tanks have always had much poorer vision than automobiles, which increases the risk that they'll hit an obstacle they didn't see, or fail to notice a threat coming from a blind spot.
    • In early tanks, closing the visors and hatches left the crew with only small, narrow vision slits cut through the armor which one could hardly see anything out of, and which could still let in bits of hot lead from bullets splattering against the armor. In World War II it was more common to have periscopes or ballistic glass vision blocks which were somewhat safer and more useful, but these still provided a tightly restricted field of view compared to having your head outside.
      • The early KV and T-34 tanks were plagued by lack of crew vision, which did a lot to negate their armor and firepower advantage over the Germans. The addition of commander's cupolas and better hatches in later versions were important improvements.
      • Nicholas Moran notes that modern owners of a running Jagdpanzer 38(t) will often install a video screen hooked up to an external camera just so they can properly see where they're going.
      • The Großkampfwagen or K-Wagen, a German super-heavy tank whose two prototypes were almost completed at the end of World War I, would have been a literal example: it would have had two drivers inside the hull who had no means of seeing where they were going, so that the tank's commander (who actually had a view of the outside) would have needed to guide them using electric light signals.
    • Modern optics have greatly improved the quality of crew awareness, but the saying, "tanks are blind" still applies a lot even to today's tanks, especially for the driver down in the hull when compared to the commander, gunner, and loader in the turret. Generally the driver has nothing but some simple periscopes that show a limited arc in front of the tank; even when he's unbuttoned the position of his hatch makes it hard to see over the nose and sides of the hull, and because the turret's behind his head it's simply impossible to see behind the tank unless a backup camera is installed. In combat or combat exercises, it is often the case that the driver can't see where the enemy is or what the turret is firing at, and just has to take the commander's word for it.
  • EMD once made high-hood units as seen here, in an attempt to make things safer for the crew, but the engineer can't see anything on the other side of the train and has to rely on the conductor or brakeman to guide that side of the train. A lot of these units have since been modified with a more traditional locomotive cab.
  • The pilots of Britain's Vulcan bombers were encouraged to "fly blind" — i.e., on instruments only — with shades pulled down over the windows, as it was expected they would be flying over Russia and Eastern Europe as lots of nukes were going off all around them which could well be bright enough to blind aircrew. They were also issued eyepatches — so that if they got too near a nuclear detonation, they could at least preserve the sight in one eye.
  • Downplayed in aviation with instrument flight rules. If the skies are too hazy to visually navigate, there are instruments and protocols that can allow the pilot to fly without having to look outside the canopy. Furthermore, the regulation of air traffic allows ground personnel to order pilots to fly at specific altitudes or headings to prevent not only mid-air collissions but also wake turbulence. Then, there is the instrument approach, in which the pilot is guided by ground systems for a safe landing if they can't gauge the landing visually, although the pilot does still need to be able to see the ground right before landing or else they must lift back up for a go-around. In fact, the Air Canada Flight 759 near-miss incident at San Francisco International Airport, in which the plane nearly landed on a taxiway next to the runway and would've plowed into four other planes queueing up for takeoff if not for a last-second pull-up, is believed to have been caused by the pilots misjudging their visual alignment with the runway (SFO has two intersecting pairs of parallel runways, and the runway next to their assigned runway was closed), and in all likelihood could've been avoided altogether by performing an instrument approach instead.


Video Example(s):


Ricky Bobby Drives Blind

... And it ends how you might expect. But not how he expects.

How well does it match the trope?

4.5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / BlindDriving

Media sources: