How to Safely Navigate Through Closed Doors With a White Cane

Being able to safely navigate through closed doors using a white cane is a critical skill that all white cane users should be able to perform. Safety is paramount when it comes to Orientation & Mobility. If a person with visual impairment does not take necessary precautions to ensure a safe passage through a doorway, they could face significant injury. Basement stairs, objects or obstacles behind the door, or even people standing behind the door are some examples of hazards that may be encountered on the other side. Here is a step-by-step breakdown of how to safely pass through a close doorway using a white cane.

Step-by-Step Guide

STEP 1: Locate and contact the door with the cane

man holding a white cane contacting a brown door

Step 2: Anchor the cane by resting the cane tip where the door and floor meet

zoomed in picture of a white cane anchored against a door with a red circle around it

STEP 3: Raise the cane up vertical against the door (straight up and down) and in the process switch to pencil grip

hand holding a white cane using pencil grip and raising the cane vertical to the door

STEP 4: Keep arm’s length away from the door to prevent getting hit with an opening door

man holding a white cane vertically arms length away from a brown door

STEP 5: Lift cane up off the ground slightly aiming for one to two inches.

man lifting a white cane several inches off the ground with a red arrow around the cane tip

STEP 6: Move the cane horizontally (left and right) to locate the door knob

man sweeping a white cane left on a door to find a door knob

STEP 7: Find the cane with the free hand then slide that hand down the cane to locate the door knob

man holding a white cane in front of a brown door
man reaching out for a door knob while holding a white cane in the opposite hand

STEP 8: Open the door making sure to give enough space for the door to fully open

man holding a white cane opening a brown door to the basement

STEP 9: Sweep the cane in the area you are about to walk to make sure it is clear and safe to proceed though the doorway

man sweeping a cane in an open door finding a set of descending stairs

This is a critical Orientation & Mobility skill and I highly recommend practicing this skill until it becomes second nature every time a closed door is passed through. Please reach out to an Orientation & Mobility Specialist if you have questions or need assistance in learning this skill.

For a full step-by-step video tutorial click here

For more White Cane Tutorials you can visit my tutorial page here.

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Published by Mike Mulligan

Is a Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialist who provides product resources, reviews, and tutorials.

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