Things That the Cane May Not Detect: Overhanging Obstacles

Overhanging obstacles, such as tree branches, and signs or objects that protrude from walls or poles are not detected by the cane. Eelectronic travel aids can be very useful for detecting these obstacles. Many people wear glasses and/or a brim hat to prevent injury from tree branches or other overhanging objects, and some even use an umbrella to give them advance warning. If such a hazard is expected, the blind traveler can use a modified upper hand and forearm technique to protect the head (as shown in the last photo below).

Photos below (from left to right) show a display umbrella; a sign that was tilted over the sidewalk; and a pole with a railroad crossing sign left by a construction crew. These each protrude where the cane will not detect them, and are hazards.

photo shows a woman using a white cane and walking along a sidewalk in front of a store.  A beach umbrella is opened and the woman is about to walk into it and bump her head. photo shows a man with a white cane walking on a residential sidewalk and approaching a sign that has been tilted into the sidewalk.  If he continues to walk straight, the cane will go under the sign and he will hit it with his head. photo shows a man using a white cane and walking in a plaza toward a large rod that is extended diagonally across his path; if he continues walking, his cane will go under the rod and he will bump into it with his chest. photo shows the same man approaching the same rod, but with his right hand holding the cane, his left arm is positioned horizontally with the elbow bent so that his forearm and hand are diagonally in front of his face and contacting the object (we now see that the 'rod' is actually the pole of a railroad sign that for some unknown reason is protruding diagonally from the ground -- there is construction nearby, and this railroad sign has been left here).

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