The Trailing Technique

The Trailing Technique can help you locate a door, walk in a straight line, or detect the position of objects in front of you on the same side of your body as your extended arm.

This technique can provide you with useful information about everyday objects, obstacles, and potential hazards that you may encounter as you move about your home.

It can also provide you with a feeling of security while you walk, by allowing you to remain in contact with walls, countertops, desks, tables, or other types of stationary surfaces.

It’s important to remember that this technique will not warn you about approaching drop-offs, such as steps and stairs. For maximum protection, you should use the trailing technique in combination with either the upper or lower body protective technique, depending upon your needs in a particular environment.

The technique:

  1. Begin along a straight stretch of wall in an uncluttered area. Stand with the side of your body about 6 inches from the wall.
  2. Extend your hand in front of you at approximately hip level and angled downward toward the floor, about 12 inches from your body.
  3. The back of your hand should be in contact with the wall, with your fingers slightly cupped toward your palm.
  4. This will prevent you from injuring your fingers if they make contact with an object. Your fingers will also act as “bumpers” to warn you about objects that you may encounter.
  5. Walk forward slowly while holding your arm in this position, keeping the backs of your fingers, especially the knuckles of your ring and “pinky” fingers, in contact with the wall.
  6. Make sure that the back of your hand is always in contact with a surface while you are moving.
  7. When you make contact with or locate an object, take a few moments to examine and identify it.
  8. If you come to a doorway, walk across the opening and resume trailing on the other side.
  9. For maximum protection when crossing the door opening, it is recommended that you use either the Upper Body Protective Technique or Lower Body Protective Technique, depending upon the particular environment.
  10. Initially, you may be able to hold this position for only a minute or two, but with repeated practice you will be able to maintain this position for longer periods of time.