There is no reason why a deaf person cannot learn to drive either a manual or automatic car. However, be aware that passing by your test in an automatic you are only allowed to drive automatics and would face another test to drive a manual. If you pass in a manual you can drive either.
Where do I begin?
Apply for a provisional driving licence in the normal way. There is no requirement to notify DVLA of deafness until the age of 70 for cars or motorcycles (group 1 entitlement).
Finding a driving instructor
We can access a database of driving instructors who have completed a course of training, which includes advice for teaching deaf or hard of hearing pupils.
Provide us with your postcode, whether you wish to drive a manual or automatic and if you need any adaptations. We can then find driving instructors in your local area who have experience of teaching deaf and hard of hearing people to drive. Some large driving schools have instructors who specialise in teaching people who are deaf, so remember to inform them that you are deaf when applying for driving lessons.
But I sign…
As far as British Sign Language is concerned, ‘signing’ cannot be used by the instructor to assist the pupil whilst driving. This also applies to the examiner when you are taking your test. There are specific directional signs that are used for route directions. These are agreed between instructor and pupil at the beginning of the course. Detailed instructions will be given when the car is parked. During lessons, there will be some time spent stationary with the instructor. Many deaf people are able to lip read to a certain extent and instructors may also use written information and sketches to help teach pupils to drive.