Module B1 - Slide 11


A long white cane is the most prevalent mobility aid; it is used as a probe of the walking surface. There are different techniques that are used in different situations or by different users depending on their vision, the ground surface, or their personal preference. The cane may be swung in an arc across the person’s body, with the tip just touching the ground on either side of the person or may be kept in constant contact with the ground surface. People with some usable vision may just hold the cane across their body until they see something they need/want to check and touch it to the ground at that point. Different lengths of canes are used depending on personal preference and travel style but the cane is normally much longer than one used for support. Usually the cane length is somewhere between a person’s chest and the top of their head.

The purpose of the cane is to provide protection and information, to detect obstacles or dropoffs in the person’s path at ground level and up to about waist height. The cane doesn’t detect obstacles overhanging the path such as branches or signs that protrude from their posts. A white cane also identifies the person as an individual who is blind or who has low vision.