Drivers experience ‘Street Smart’ safety challenge using virtual reality goggles

It’s easy to take daily tasks like driving for granted, but, the “Street Smart” Virtual Reality Exhibit outside Nationals Park in D.C. on Wednesday invited drivers to put on goggles to see things differently.

“It was interesting, you really had to look at things carefully,” John Brown of Springfield, Virginia, said of the ‘spot the bicyclist and pedestrian’ virtual reality game.

“It made me think about pedestrians way in the wings, because as you approach they’re in kind of a blur mode, then they came into focus and then ahhhhh,” Brown exclaimed at the thought of potentially hitting someone.

“I think this would be helpful for a lot of people,” D.C. resident Otis Gossett said. “It mainly made me be aware of what was going on as I was driving to pay attention to bicyclists and pedestrians who always have the right of way on the road.”

Street Smart Safety Ambassador, Tarue Coleman wants people to pay better attention and share the road. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Participants in the Street Smart Safety Challenge got to hop in the driver's seat of a 2011 Chevy Camaro. (WTOP/Kristi King)
D.C. resident Otis Gossett said "It mainly made me be aware of what was going on as I was driving to pay attention to bicyclists and pedestrians who always have the right of way on the road." (WTOP/Kristi King)
"It was interesting, you really had to look at things carefully," John Brown of Springfield, Virginia said of the 'spot the bicyclist and pedestrian' virtual reality game. (WTOP/Kristi King)
DDOT Director Jeff Marootian tried it. (WTOP/Kristi King)(WTOP/Kristi King)
Aric McMillan delightfully exclaims as he spots a pedestrian. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Street Smart Safety Ambassadors hand out literature at the Navy Yard Metro on half street near Nationals Park. (WTOP/Kristi King)
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This lesson in traffic safety had a guide who helped people through the experience by opening the door of a hot sports car, a 2011 Chevy Camaro convertible, reminding them to buckle up, adjusting their Virtual Reality headset and clicking through various levels of the program.

“We’re saving lives,” she said repeatedly, congratulating the players as their games progressed.

The take-away message from all this according to Street Smart Safety Ambassador, Tarue Coleman is essentially: Pay better attention and share the road.

“We need to stop blaming … drivers, or people riding bicycles, or people walking,” Coleman advised. “We have to learn that we all have to work together and share the road.”

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