February 25, 2019
OTTAWA, Ontario—Picture this: your vehicle is stuck on the tracks in the middle of a railway crossing. You watch as the crossing gates lower around you. You can hear the warning bells and see the lights from an approaching train. What do you do?
“Our hope is that individuals, driver training companies, school boards and even governments will use this program, and that OL’s ”
Whether you’re a new driver or a seasoned one, keeping yourself safe around railway tracks is about staying alert and knowing the rules. Today, Operation Lifesaver — a national not-for-profit dedicated to rail safety — unveiled its new Train to Drive program, featuring virtual-reality (VR) videos designed to test whether drivers know how to safely approach railway crossings and respond in life-or-death situations like the one just described.
“Collisions at railway crossings can happen in a split second. Train to Driveallows drivers to make choices in real time around virtual railway tracks and trains, and to see the results — good and tragic — in the safety of that VR environment,” said Sarah Mayes, National Director of Operation Lifesaver Canada.
Collisions at road-rail crossings are tragically common in Canada. In 2018, there 167 such incidents which killed 19 people and seriously injured another 42.
“Our hope is that individuals, driver training companies, school boards and even governments will use this program, and that OL’s "Look. Listen. Live." rail safety message will resonate with drivers — new and experienced.”
Right now, the Train to Drive program includes two different training scenarios aimed at all drivers. In the first, the weather is clear, but the “driver” has to contend with congested traffic near a railway crossing. The second video features nighttime conditions, poor weather and in-vehicle distractions. Operation Lifesaver plans to expand the Train to Drive program in 2019 to include new training scenarios designed specifically for bus and truck drivers.
You can experience Train to Drive on your computer by visiting TraintoDrive.ca and clicking the video link. The website also provides instructions on how to view the videos on other devices such as mobile phones or tethered headsets, and offers rail safety tips to use next time you’re behind a real wheel.
Now get in the driver's seat and put your rail safety knowledge to the test!