Winter Weather Travel Tips

Tags: Orientation and Mobility

It’s that time of year when the days are shorter and the weather is colder, and snow is starting. While it can be a beautiful time of year, it is also hazardous for people with low vision. You need to plan ahead and make alternative plans.

Preparation is key

Listen to weather forecasts for the week ahead so you can plan whether to walk, take the bus, use paratransit, or Uber/carpool wherever you need to go.

You may not need a paratransit or human/sighted guide user in better weather, but in winter weather, this extra assistance may be welcome.

Everything takes more time in the winter

Buses and paratransit may be late in bad weather. Calling for Uber/Lyft or a carpool may require a different pick-up spot because parking could be blocked in snowy weather.

It will even take longer to walk because you will need to use your cane more carefully to explore the path ahead of you.

Walking outside

It’s hard to walk on snow and ice, and difficult to figure out where it is so you can avoid it. You may want to invest in some cleats, like Yaktrax, that slip on over your shoes/boots to provide more traction. Check out some options here.

Try cutting a hole into your dominant cane hand mitten so it is easier to grip the cane inside the mitten.

Use constant contact and exploratory sweeping of the cane to find landmarks or a hard-packed path under snow cover. You can poke at snow mounds and use three- point touch, tapping twice in an arc on the ground, and then raising the cane up on the last tap to explore snow banks in search of landmarks.

Keep your ears as uncovered as possible, because sounds (like traffic) will already be distorted by snowfall, and you don’t want to distort your hearing even more with earmuffs or a heavy hat.

Wear warm clothing, bright colors, slip-resistant boots, a visor, and glare shields in snowy conditions if needed.

Contact VisionCorps for Assistance

Remember to contact a Vision Corps Orientation and Mobility (O&M) specialist for advice and training for winter weather – and you can do this in advance of bad weather by contacting us at 717-205-4141.