Technological innovation has revolutionized both the vehicles we drive and the traffic infrastructure we rely upon. In previous posts, we discussed the implications of artificial intelligence for the way we approach left turns. In this post, we will be discussing how virtual reality may help to reduce the risk of left turn accidents. This emerging technology has the potential to transform the way we practice, understand, and teach left turn safety.
So, what is virtual reality? Virtual reality can provide realistic and immersive experiences by allowing users so see a computer-generated environment through a screen on a headset. In the context of left turn safety, VR can provide drivers with capabilities we have never had before. Here’s how:
- Realistic Simulations
Using VR, novice or experienced drivers can play out realistic simulations without dangerous consequences. By replicating various road conditions and variables, virtual reality test driver’s capabilities in many scenarios. Using VR, drivers will have a safe and controlled virtual environment to practice and refine their left turn skills.
- Risk-Free Learning
Many driver safety courses do a fantastic job of helping people improve their driving. However, it can be difficult to replicate real-word scenarios without endangering inexperienced drivers. Virtual reality can simulate oncoming traffic, pedestrian hazards, and erratic drivers without risking the safety of anyone on the road. This makes VR perfect for left turns which often require drivers to navigate many dangerous variables.
- Hazard Identification
Virtual reality can help condition drivers to recognize potentially dangerous hazards before a collision occurs. A VR headset could point out hazards that you may have otherwise overlooked. For example, a driver making a left turn in the real world may have a near-miss with a pedestrian without even noticing it. In VR, the computer can alert you to your mistake so that you can learn where you should be extra careful to scan for hazards.
- Personalized Training
Not all drivers learn at the same rate. Virtual reality has a distinct advantage in that the level of difficulty can be gradually increased when it comes to practicing left turns. For drivers who struggle with specific aspect of making left turns, VR can help draw their focus to those specific aspects to correct those weaknesses with risk-free practice.
So, what does the road ahead look like when it comes to VR? There are many promising aspects of virtual reality technology, but VR devices are still in their early stages. In some instances, virtual reality has already been applied in certain contexts to make our road safer, but it is safe to assume that there will be many more applications in the future. Here are some of the ways VR is already being implemented to improve road safety:
- Driver Education
Some driver’s education programs have already incorporated VR training. These virtual reality simulations don’t just focus on left turns, but many different types of dangerous maneuvers and unexpected scenarios to prepare students to venture out onto the physical road.
- Fleet Safety
Companies with large vehicle fleets are already using VR to help train their commercial drivers in left turn scenarios. Commercial drivers in some instances also use virtual reality to practice some of the other more difficult aspects of driving a large vehicle. Companies see VR as a risk-free way to train their employees for real-world scenarios.
- Research and Development
Not only does VR help train drivers, but virtual reality can also be an effective way to collect data on our traffic infrastructure. VR is already being used to test different layouts and environments to help with city planning and street design. This has big implications for left turns, which are notoriously dangerous maneuvers that could benefit from better safety infrastructure.
- Government Initiatives
Apart from independent driver education companies, some governments are already exploring how VR could help improve driver education. Government funded research could be an important part of the implementation of VR because large data samples can be used to determine where VR could best improve driver safety.
Virtual reality has the potential to change the way we approach left turn safety. Eliminating real-world risk through advanced simulations could help new or experienced drivers practice with confidence. Hazard identification and personalized training program may eventually be used as helpful VR supplements to real-world practice. VR may also change the way we research traffic infrastructure and the ways to train our commercial drivers. Using VR, we may be able to reduce the number of collisions that occur during one of the most dangerous maneuvers in driving: left turns.