A few months ago I had written an article about upgrading your training business. Time are continually changing and keeping up with d times and technology can be a daunting experience. It can be expensive and without the right technology money can be wasted and the benefit not achieved.
I have always been leery of computer programs as training tools, not that they aren’t effective but they don’t always give a real enough account of what a participant will expect when they actually get behind the wheel. In fact in one of my training courses I had a student who was a dedicated gamer tell me he could drive the truck no problem because he had played his trucking game for many hours and had hit the PRO level. In the yard he couldn’t get the truck to move and left the class upset that his computer time had been wasted. This has happened to many instructors which is why computer training has always been frowned upon by many veteran drivers. But that can all change with the right equipment.
To my surprise I had the privilege of trying a brand new simulator at a training school that was state of the art. There is so much technology out right now that I first wondered if a simulator was the right purchase. When teaching students in the class I often wished I had a virtual reality program that can allow them do virtual pre-trip inspections, or touch the components of a truck. No program has everything you want and although the virtual reality may have had the inspection part the seat and steering may not have had the same feel as a proper truck. You need the vibrations of the truck, the stiffness of the shifter, and the reel of the pedals to get a true feel for driving the truck.
The simulator I drove had all of that and more. This is not the first time that I saw a simulator but it is the first time that drive one. Now this was a state of the art simulator as mentioned earlier and I was quickly impressed with the attention to detail that I thought had been missing in the past with simulators I saw in the past with the exception of one company that installed their simulator in the cab of a truck that moved around like a 747. This simulator had everything from buttons and switches that worked, the engine sound of an actual truck, air brake sensors, live shifter, and more. I can honestly say that I felt as though I was driving the truck, it was that real. You can even choose different truck types based on your fleet.
From a training perspective the options were endless from different scenarios for training to pre-trip inspections, uncoupling trailers, and more. You could have contests for students, and the computer can introduce certain hazards such as deer and moose to help you assess a seasoned driver.
I was thoroughly impressed with the simulator and I am sure it will be a game changer for this training facility. If you are thinking of upgrading your technology don’t go the cheap route. Look at it as an investment and get the best you can. As a veteran driver if the machine doesn’t give you the feel and touch of the road it is just a game. For drivers to believe it they have to believe they are driving an actual truck. The right upgrade can certainly change your business and from what I heard from the owners it already has begun to make a difference.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge is a veteran in the transportation industry with over 40 years in the industry in a variety of roles from driver to fleet supervisor and more. Today he is a media specialist in the industry producing a number of programs for the trucking industry such as his trucking podcast The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers at www.theleadpedalpodcast.com or his radio station Lead Pedal Radio at www.leadpedalradio.com
Disclaimer: This article is written and based on the opinion of the author and is for general information only