A driving simulator is a computer simulation of a vehicle with real-world physics and haptic feedback systems. Advanced simulators offer an immersive experience to replicate a driver’s natural sense of motion.
Simulator training facilitates recurrent training on essential skills that reduce operational costs, like eco-driving and correct handling of emergencies. The cost savings can be substantial.
The training scenarios used in driving simulators allow learners to practice driving in a safe environment, reducing the number of preventable accidents. Simulator training also enables trainers to provide immediate feedback on drivers’ performance and helps them develop strategies for problem-solving in different road and atmospheric conditions.
Studies have shown that training using simulators improves many types of driving behaviors. For example, simulator training reduces the risky driving behavior of novice and elderly drivers. It also increases the safe distance of commercial drivers and improves their lane-changing and speeding behaviors.
In addition, simulators allow learners to progress through the learning scenario at their own pace. This self-paced learning will enable learners to learn from their mistakes without feeling frustrated. This also results in better comprehension and retention.
With a driving simulator, drivers can practice new skills and techniques without any risk of damage or injury. This is a significant advantage over traditional truck driver training, which requires expensive vehicle and equipment rentals.
With advanced driving simulation software, drivers can train in unlimited scenarios. Simulators can control the time of day, road conditions, geographical environment, and even the type of vehicle, giving learners a realistic experience to practice and fine-tune their skills.
Additionally, simulation technology allows trainers to document and measure the learning outcomes of individual learners and groups of drivers. Programmed learning scenarios with automatic objective scoring can be used to track progress and identify the drivers who require more instruction. This helps fleet managers direct additional training for low performers while advancing their entire fleet to competency-based standards.
The more time drivers spend practicing decision-making in a no-risk environment, the better they will be at applying that practice on the road. Driving simulators allow drivers to learn by doing without damaging equipment or putting lives at risk.
With the ability to change weather, road conditions, geographical environments, and vehicle settings, driving simulators offer thousands of scenarios to practice. Moreover, the immediate feedback from the simulator allows trainers to review and discuss each driver’s performance to reinforce positive responses and highlight growth opportunities.
Another benefit is keeping your fleet operational while training new employees. Rather than setting aside vehicles for training, your fleet will continue earning you money while your trainees learn on the simulator. This helps to reduce downtime and increases profitability.
Simulator training provides a no-risk environment to practice and learn from mistakes. This helps drivers retain and transfer that knowledge to the road when ready to take on real-world scenarios.
Research indicates that simulator-based instruction effectively teaches higher-order cognitive functions like hazard perception and situational awareness (Romoser & Hirsch, 2011). In addition, studies using driving simulators for driver evaluations show promise for their ability to predict on-road performance (Shechtman et al., 2009).
Simulator-based learning and reinforcement also allow for applying proven pedagogical principles like demonstrations, group lessons, and peer teaching, limited by traditional in-vehicle training. This re-enforcement helps maintain high driver training standards over time, reduce operational costs, and improve on-road safety.
Simulators can train drivers on various road and weather conditions, unlike actual vehicles. Drivers can also practice critical decision-making skills without the risks to people or equipment.
Fleet managers can simultaneously schedule training for all drivers and reduce travel and vehicle maintenance, repair, and fuel expenses. Simulator driver training is more cost-effective than relying solely on real-world driving experience.
Simulator-based driver training allows trainers to record and replay scenarios to analyze the learner’s performance from various perspectives, including alternative camera angles. This feedback helps trainers assess learners and identify areas where they need improvement. This can help improve CSA scores, lower risk insurance premiums, and reduce operational costs. Ultimately, this can increase efficiency, reduce downtime, and create happier customers.