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How to Stay Safe as a Pedestrian who is Blind or Visually Impaired

A man wearing a suit crossing a street in New York City holding his phone to his chest walking with a cane. White text above that reads "How to Stay Safe as a Pedestrian Who is Blind"

There is that old saying to “look both ways before you cross the street”. But what about those who are blind and visually impaired?  As we know in the blindness community, there are many different ways to navigate the world around us, especially when it comes to staying safe as a pedestrian who is blind or visually impaired.


On the blog, we have focused on how to commute to work with confidence as someone who is blind, and how to navigate the uncertainty that comes with travel, but we have yet to touch on one of the most important aspects when it comes to travel – how to stay safe as a blind pedestrian!


Be Aware of your surroundings

While this is a great safety tip for anyone, blind/visually impaired or not, it is especially important as a blind and visually impaired pedestrian. Because we do not have the privilege to see what is going on around us, it is especially important to be aware in other ways, whether it is our hearing, using a cane, or a guide dog. This is a critical step whether we are navigating around us or even waiting for a bus!


Use oko to stay safe as a pedestrian who is blind

Oko was created to help the blind and visually impaired travel safely and independently. Oko uses AI to help detect lighted intersections. It is easy to use and available on the Apple store!


Add lights

If you are traveling at night, it can be helpful to wear lights whether it is on your clothes, such as a bike light, or there are even companies creating light up canes, such as the See Me Cane.  


Let Someone Know

‘If you are heading somewhere unfamiliar or heading to meet someone, let them know when you leave and how long it may take you to arrive. This way, they can know when you are late and to make sure you are okay.


Have Back Up

While having back up in terms of another person there would be great, we mean back-ups in terms of having additional phone charging capabilities with you. You never know what can happen and having a back-up when it comes to your phone is never a bad idea.


Rideshare Safety

We are no stranger to rideshares but there are a few things you can do to make sure you stay safe. We also know that looking at the license plate is not possible for much of the blind and visually impaired community. When a rideshare drives up, instead of giving them your name, make sure they give you their name.


Self Defense

As people with disabilities, we know we have to be more careful when it comes to navigating the world. But that’s where self-defense can become a vital skill that we have in our disability toolbox! There are several self-defense classes specifically for the blind and visually impaired or there might be more local options in your hometown.


How do you stay safe as a blind pedestrian? Let us know in the comments!

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