A driving simulator is a software that creates a virtual world for drivers to practice driving in different weather conditions and road situations without risk.
Studies have shown that simulator training improves driver performance. One interesting finding is that although the quality of lane behavior in a simulator does not directly correlate to on-road driving, it still improved after simulation training.
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Driving simulators immerse individuals in artificial environments that can hone or boost their skills. They can help individuals with different scenarios, whether learning how to maneuver a vehicle in icy conditions properly or mastering how to handle a tricky shift.
The immersive nature of the driving simulator gives learners immediate feedback about their decision-making and actions. When they make a mistake, they know exactly what they did wrong and can immediately try again. This allows them to learn more quickly than they would on the actual road, which can be dangerous and unpredictable.
It is also easier for new drivers to practice a specific scenario multiple times in a simulator than on the road. This is a great way to reduce the risk of mistakes that can lead to costly accidents. For example, a study of drivers that included simulator training showed that the group had significantly fewer traffic infractions and car crashes than a control group that did not use simulators.
When training new drivers with simulators, trainers can hone in on areas they need to improve. For example, suppose they notice the driver looking away from the road for extended periods when driving. In that case, they can repeat the scenario with different camera angles until the trainee becomes more aware of what they are doing and their brain changes how they react to distracting situations.
Simulators also allow fleet managers and trainers to track each trainee’s performance without wasting fuel or causing wear and tear on real vehicles and roads. This provides a more accurate and objective measurement of the driver’s skills than traditional on-road testing would.
Additionally, drivers can practice difficult scenarios like heavy traffic and bad weather without the risk of real-world consequences. This increases the likelihood that trainees will become more confident behind the wheel of a company vehicle. That means a safer workplace and better service for customers.
Driving simulators allow trainers to give learners many training events that can be repeated and mastered at their own pace without the fear of putting them into real-world situations they may not be prepared for. Programmed scenarios with automatic and objective scoring also make it possible to document learner performance. Fleet managers can track the progress of new drivers, direct further driver training at low performers, and quickly move their fleets to a competency-based standard of driving.
Research studies suggest that simulator training reduces new driver crash risks by teaching them to properly scan the roadway, manage their speed, and maintain attention. This is important because these are the key factors in most new driver crashes. While it is true that even experienced drivers get into crashes due to such failures, more recent drivers tend to make these errors more often than their experienced counterparts.
With the ability to control and tailor each training scenario to a learner’s skill level, driving simulators allow trainers and fleet managers to exercise more control over their driver training program. This can help them bolster low-performing drivers and target specific skills through verbal and visual instruction, among other things.
Simulators also provide the opportunity to practice different scenarios without any real-life risks. This can be particularly useful for teen drivers, who must develop crucial decision-making skills and practice their reactions.
In addition, as simulators eliminate the need for physical vehicles, they can significantly reduce fuel costs and vehicle maintenance. These savings can be substantial for fleets with a large number of drivers. Lastly, simulation technology can also minimize wear and tear on roads and infrastructure, making it a more environmentally friendly option for driver training.
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