Get Behind the Wheel – Exploring the Benefits of Driving Simulators
Adding a simulator to your training program gives trainers more control over learning. Using simulations with good courseware and objective scoring, trainers can efficiently deliver more lessons to fleet drivers in less time.
In addition, sensory redundancy (such as tactile or proprioceptive feedback) can reduce simulator sickness, a phenomenon observed in several studies on psychological validity.
Driving simulators offer the opportunity to deliver more learning events in a shorter period. Scenarios can be designed to provide feedback from several perspectives (for example, displaying the driver’s actions during a traffic assignment from above or in the eyes of another road user).
Driving simulation is an excellent method for teaching specific maneuvers to truck drivers that require repeated practice to master. Simulators can also be used to teach eco-driving techniques, saving a company on fuel costs. These training programs can be offered to drivers anytime during the year without displacing fleet drivers or interrupting business operations.
However, it is essential to recognize that simulators only measure driving performance; they cannot determine a driver’s tendency to speed, run red lights, pay attention to non-driving distractions, or fail to fasten their safety belt. Even so, there is evidence that simulator training can reduce crash rates. One study found that professional drivers who received simulator training experienced 22% fewer crashes than those who did not.
In a driving simulator, users are exposed to realistic simulated scenarios to help them practice and gain confidence in their abilities. This is especially useful for people with anxiety about certain traffic situations or a fear of getting behind the wheel.
The program was developed by a team of experts from various fields, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), computer science, and psychology. The research was performed on 19 autistic participants ranging in age from 22 to 50 years old who completed two intervention groups and individualized virtual driving simulation sessions.
Caregivers were generally supportive of implementing driving simulators. They felt they were an excellent way to assess driving skills and offered benefits such as reducing loneliness and allowing for more independence. However, they also emphasized the need for transparency and understanding regarding the driving cessation decision. They were concerned about PLWCD’s disappointment at failing the test, their desire to continue driving, and their reluctance to accept the decision.
Easy to Operate
Simulator systems facilitate the application of proven pedagogical principles like demonstrations and group lessons. They also allow for self-paced learning, reducing frustration and making training more efficient than traditional in-vehicle driver training.
Simulators can deliver standardized programs regardless of the location, road, weather, and traffic conditions available for on-road training. This flexibility is critical in fleet management and can help drive down costs by reducing the need for equipment maintenance, fuel consumption, and sickness absence.
Driving simulators also provide improved feedback options from different perspectives, including augmented cuing in images, symbols, and sounds to enhance perception and speed up learning. This is important because it has been shown that the kinesthetic and proprioceptive information experienced in real vehicles (e.g., pressure sensations and vibrations) is critical to perceptual accuracy. The inbuilt evaluation system of the simulator ensures that drivers are assessed unbiased and scores are not influenced by human intervention or bias.
Helps Drivers Avoid Heavy Traffic Situations
Unlike traditional forms of driver training, simulators allow learners to practice and learn in a risk-free environment. This will enable them to perfect their skills and become accustomed to different road and weather conditions before they get on the real thing. This helps prevent accidents and reduces the number of vehicle-related expenses that businesses face, including higher insurance premiums, sick absences, maintenance costs, and equipment repairs.
Driving simulations also help train drivers to drive more efficiently. A company such as Westcan Bulk Transport uses its simulator to train its drivers on the importance of accelerating, shifting gears and idling correctly. Its eco-driving program has resulted in a 30% reduction in fuel management costs for the company.
The technology behind simulators is constantly improving, which is influenced by new scientific research on the psychology of perception. This research highlights that sensory redundancy, which includes visual, auditory, and tactile feedback, is essential for driving simulations to achieve the same psychological validity as reality.