Have you ever tried crossing the street at a busy intersection? Then you know it can be tricky.
Sure, traffic may be fully stopped at a red light. But that gridlocked car pattern often prevents you from advancing in a straight line.
It’s tough enough when you can rely on all your senses. Now imagine what it must be like for a blind or visually-impaired person.
Recently, a compassionate good Samaritan encountered just this sort of situation. A dashcam video captured what happened next.
It shows a blind individual attempting to cross the bustling Vegas intersection of S. Rainbow Boulevard and W. Warm Springs Road. Cars idle bumper-to-bumper as they obey the red traffic signal.
It’s immediately obvious that the blind pedestrian is having trouble navigating a clear route to the opposite sidewalk. That’s when a woman in a grey SUV jumps into action.
The concerned lady hops out of her passenger seat, rushes straight to the stranger’s side and offers help. Then the pair calmly weave their way through a maze of vehicles, safely reaching the other walkway.
Blind pedestrians often demonstrate remarkable self-sufficiency when they encounter a busy roadway. But how do they typically go about crossing the street?
This question was recently posed as part of a Q and A column that appeared in the Florida Times-Union.
Chicago-based NPR commentator Beth Finke, who is herself blind, shared her thoughts.
“I like to wait until I hear the traffic rushing back and forth in front of me stop, and then the traffic that is parallel to me start,” Finke said. “That way I know it’s a fresh green light, and I have a long time to cross.”
Finke wrote a 2004 memoir entitled “Long Time, No See.” She also authored a children’s book called “Hanni and Beth: Safe and Sound,” which highlights the role of seeing-eye dogs.
Another Times-Union reader from Kansas City, Missouri, mentioned that “a lot of cities now have crossing lights with audible cues.” However, these lights don’t currently exist in every region.
Another reader named Laurie from Boston simply suggested that more folks adopt the example of the good Samaritan in the video. She said a sighted person can always politely offer their assistance.
The American Foundation for the Blind summarizes the correct technique: “If your help is accepted, offer the person your arm. To do so, tap the back of your hand against his or her hand. The person will then grasp your arm directly above the elbow. Never grab the person’s arm or try to direct him or her by pushing or pulling.”
Sometimes that friendly support is extremely helpful and deeply appreciated. The quick-thinking motorist in the video is living proof.
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