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ICBC driving simulator mimics real-life road hazards

Think of it as a video game to make B.C.'s streets safer.
street-sense-driver web
An image from ICBC's Street Sense simulator puts you in the driver's seat in some common but hazardous scenarios in B.C.

ICBC is hoping a little more screen time will translate to safer streets.

The public insurer, along with the province, TELUS, and Project Whitecard Inc., has launched Street Sense, a new online driving simulator intended to help shore up the skills of new drivers.

The program lays out 15 scenarios a typical B.C. driver may have to respond to behind the wheel. Among them: Merging into a multi-lane roundabout, drivers opening their doors on a narrow residential street, making a left turn at a busy intersection and a deer bolting out onto the road.

Each time the user fails, a voice over explains exactly what went wrong and what the driver should have done. Recognizing potential hazards and how to navigate them virtually should better prepare drivers for the real thing were lives and property are on the line.

Novice drivers are 1.5 times more likely to crash than experienced drivers are, according to ICBC, and since 2020, the number of new drivers on the road has increased by 24 per cent.

“With more British Columbians getting their driver's licence than ever before, we encourage new drivers to use the Street Sense app as another tool to gain experience detecting hazards and keep them and others safe while behind the wheel," said ICBC vice-president Lindsay Matthews in a release

Today, anyone can log in to Street Sense via a mobile app or web-based browser. In time, the plans is to have the simulator available on virtual reality headsets as well.