You lift yourself up and climb into the semi-truck for the very first time. You sit down on the seat and reach for the belt buckle. Then, you get situated. The steering wheel is huge! There are so many gears and buttons – what does what? You check your mirrors just like you would in your car. That’s when you remember all of that trailer behind you. Let’s face it… this first moment in a big rig is intimidating. For this reason, many trucking schools across the country are training drivers in a different medium first… a truck driving simulator.
How Does the Trucking Industry Use Truck Driving Simulators?
Technology is touching every facet of the trucking industry, and new driver training is no exception.
A simulator is essentially a machine where you can sit and practice driving a truck. It allows users to learn how to drive in different road and weather conditions without leaving the driving school. You’re sitting in a seat with a steering wheel and a screen in front of you where you can change scenarios for training purposes. Most truck driving simulators have features like a 180-degree view of the field. They also have a force-loaded steering wheel that lets practicing drivers feel what it would feel like to drive on different terrain. What about when unexpected problems arise? They even have built-in events like a tire blow-out. Some of them even record everything so students can play it back and see how they did. This allows the teacher to review and coach students without putting them in danger out on the road.
Truck driving simulators are a fairly new technology that is changing the way that truck drivers receive CDL training. However, there are mixed opinions on using them for truck driver training. Check out the arguments for and against truck driving simulators.
Truck Driving Simulator | The Benefits
While some would argue that there’s nothing like the real thing, truck driving simulators give new drivers a pretty close experience.
There are many benefits to truck driving simulators. Most importantly, these machines present no real safety concerns. They are especially important for students who simply aren’t ready to actually get in a truck and drive yet. They allow these students to practice and work through simple mistakes. When they make these mistakes in the real thing, the truck can get damaged. This ends up costing trucking companies a lot of money in repairs. Using a simulator can help trucking companies to avoid paying for damages from student drivers. It also means less wear and tear on the real truck. Truck driving simulators are also cheaper in the sense that trucking companies aren’t having to pay for the gas it costs to have students driving their trucks around. Although truck driving simulators can cost a lot of money upfront and require annual maintenance, many CLD training schools report that it’s not near as expensive as training brand new drivers in an actual truck. As you can imagine, having someone shifting gears wrong, braking hard, and other rookie mistakes, can create a lot of wear and tear over time.
A big concern is whether or not drivers trained in the truck driving simulator are acquiring the same skills as drivers who simply hit the road right away. The short answer – so far studies are showing that drivers learning in simulators are just as safe as drivers who learned from the real thing. In fact, some studies even proved that they are safer drivers and have less accidents – probably because they got those mistakes out of the way while using the simulator and not while learning in the actual truck.
Experience what it’s like to learn in a truck driving simulator – find a trucking school near you today!