Working for People with Sight Loss

Staying Safe During the Cold Snap

FORECASTERS have issued a yellow warning for the week ahead, warning of snow, sleet and widespread frost.

Travelling in ice and snow is challenging for everyone, but it can present additional problems for people who blind and vision impaired. Here at the NCBI, we’ve gathered some advice to assist blind or vision impaired people in the event of a cold snap.

The footpath, when covered with snow and ice, becomes much more difficult to navigate. Snow covers landmarks such as the change between grass and footpath and crossing the street can become very challenging, as it is harder to hear the sound of cars in the snow.

But like everyone else, people who are blind and vision impaired will want to still go on with their activities, so here are a few hints and tips that might help to relieve some of the challenges of winter weather.

  • Before you leave your home, check the weather, plan your route and give yourself extra time to get there.
  • Wear brightly coloured, reflective clothing, so that drivers can see you.
  • If there is snow and ice outside, wear ice and snow grips on your shoes to prevent falls.
  • As the snow muffles sounds, avoid hats with ear flaps or ear muffs to make sure you hear important sounds.
  • Walk at a slower pace as needed and, on black ice, take smaller steps than usual.
  • If landmarks are covered in snow, rely on taller landmarks to navigate, such as bushes, fences and sign posts.
  • Stay connected. Travel with your mobile phone and charger. Think about using a mobile phone app to keep track of your directions and location. Tell family or friends where are going, the route you will be taking and what time you expect to return.
  • Bring with you any devices you use for reading, such as a handheld magnifier.
  • In very bad weather, only travel if you must. If you need assistance, ask for help.

Don’t forget that Met Eireann website is now fully accessible – so stay up to date on the forecast where you are by visiting https://www.met.ie/

NCBI’s orientation and mobility instructors can also help you to travel with confidence. To find out more about this services please call us on Tel: 01 8307033 or email: [email protected]. Safe travels to everyone!