The mum of a teenage girl who is partially sighted has appealed for drivers to "just drive past" when they see her daughter waiting to cross the road - rather than stopping to let her go.

Nicola Sartin, 13, was diagnosed with Leber Congenital Amaurosis (LCA) in 2012, a degenerative condition which means she is now fully blind in dim light, unable to see due to photosensitivity in strong light and has tunnel vision in perfect conditions.

She has been undergoing training for the past month on how to move around safely in public, her mum Maria Orr said.

Part of that involves learning how to safely cross the road - but Maria says she is shocked by the lack of awareness of the difficulties partially sighted people face while out and about.

"I think it's to do with a lack of awareness but it's making things very difficult," she said.

She has been taught to wait until the road is quiet to cross

After going out on one of Nicola's training sessions, Maria said at least eight people beeped their car horns at her daughter after she did not respond to their beckoning while waiting to cross at the side of the road.

Part of Nicola's training teaches her to wait until there is no sound before she can cross, so hearing idling cars letting her go confuses her as she does not know if it is safe or not.

Drivers gesturing to indicate they are letting her cross is also a problem because of her sight issues.

"More and more cars stop and then wag their fingers at her to go and when she can't see them, they beep at her," Maria said.

"I couldn't believe how many times it happened. It knocks her confidences because it starts a non-verbal argument.

"Yesterday, we had a big delivery van beeping and beeping and she just walked away. It feels intimidating.

"She's 13 and she can't see, she's learning all these new skills, we can't throw that into it too."

But Maria said she did not blame drivers and had previously been guilty of doing the same things herself.

Instead, she said there was a distinct lack of awareness among members of the public as to what visually impaired people have to go through on a day-to-day basis.

Nicola's mum Maria appealed for drivers to be more aware

"There's nobody in the family that's blind or visually impaired so I've had to learn all this myself," she said.

"I'm a driver and I thought the same thing, I thought I was helping, but without someone actually giving that information I didn't know.

"A lot of people do stop to be nice but it doesn't help.

"If you see someone with a long cane just go ahead normally like you would with anyone, don't stop and certainly don't beep.

"It's 90 per cent to do with sound, so when there's people waiting next to the crossing that confuses her, and when they beep it frightens her. Where do you go when someone beeps at you? It can be very dangerous.

"She's worked so hard the past few months but this has been making her really nervous."

Nicola, who walks using a long cane, also relies on the small knob underneath the yellow box at a pedestrian crossing to know when it is safe to cross.

When traffic is stopped and the green man appears, the knob turns automatically to let visually impaired people know that it is safe to cross.

But Maria said pedestrians can also be unaware of this, often crowding around the box so Nicola struggles to gain access.

"Nicola has been taught not to just follow people because a large amount of people just run across the road," she said.

Nicola relies on the knob underneath the box at a pedestrian crossing to know when to cross

"A lot of the time when she's out and about she can't get to it. But people might not even know that's there."

Maria encouraged drivers and pedestrians to treat her daughter like just another pedestrian, but hoped more people would take on board and understand the issues that she faces because of her sight problems.

A spokesman for The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association said: "The decision to cross a road is made by someone with sight loss based on information from the surrounding environment, such as things they can hear, so drivers should adhere to the highway code as they would any other pedestrian.

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"We encourage people with sight loss to use controlled crossings wherever possible, but we appreciate there is not always one nearby.

"At a particularly busy junction, someone with sight loss might ask a member of the public if it's safe to cross. If you're a fellow pedestrian and you're unsure whether someone with sight loss needs help, please ask them first before taking action."