Tuesday, August 27, 2013

How to cross a street at a Busy Intersection


One of the most frightening aspects of being blind or visually impaired is crossing the street.

Intersections can be very confusing and dangerous places. One of the portions of Orientation and Mobility (O & M ) training is How a blind person can safely negotiate crossing the street at a busy intersection. I recently found this informative video from the Tyler Lighthouse in Texas describing the best technique to employ as you get out and about.

Bear in mind this video was made in the U.S.A. where vehicles are allowed to turn right on a red  light. Though they should not enter the intersection while you are crossing, they do and I have personally had several near misses when crossing a street using these very same techniques and a car driver chose to ignore the rules of the road.

The main idea is to be patient.

Wait at the side of the intersection for at least ONE full traffic cycle to analyze the times allowed for changing traffic patterns.

When you feel comfortable move to the edge of the sidewalk  and/or press the light button to tell the light that a pedestrian is waiting to cross.

As the traffic to your left moves forward move your cane out into the street to indicate that you are about to move into the crossing.

Count to two and then if all is clear move across the street keeping the line of moving traffic to your left.

Bear in mind that the line of moving traffic may be on your left depending on your direction of travel. I only used the direction to maintain consistency with the video.