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Man walks on cement and brick road. You see legs and white cane. Deciding When to Cross at Uncontrolled Crossings

Instructing someone who is blind or visually impaired how to cross the road is an important O&M skill. Properly gauging the traffic around you can be the difference between safely getting around and being in an accident. Orientation and Mobility Techniques has a handy guide for crossing at uncontrolled crossings.


Deciding When to Cross at Uncontrolled Crossings

Purpose: to enable the learner to evaluate the crossing situation and determine whether she can hear or see traffic with enough warning to know when it is clear to cross and to make the correct timing decision for the crossing (Sauerburger, 1999, 2005, 2006, n.d.).


  1. The learner estimates the width of the street and the amount of time it will take to cross the street.
  2. The learner waits for a quiet period, then listens for approaching vehicles on the perpendicular street.
  3. The learner notes the warning time of each vehicle (the time between when it was first heard or seen and when it passed in front of her) and compares that to her crossing time.
  4. The learning repeats steps 2 and 3 for numerous vehicles until she can draw a conclusion about whether vehicles can be heard with enough warning to be confident as to when it is clear to cross.
  5. If vehicles are not detected with enough warning, the risk of crossing is assessed.
  6. If it is too risky, the learner considers alternatives to crossing at that location.

Looking to learn more about O&M? Orientation and Mobility Techniques has been revised and updated for today’s fast-changing world. With new, easy-to-read color format, accompanying photographs, updated information on street crossings at complex intersections, and a new chapter on O&M for people with low vision, this revised edition is a must-have in your O&M library.

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