Driving Simulators Provide Training for Motorists

As you know, technology is advancing day-by-day and almost everything you do involves using it. Fleet managers often find it difficult to fulfil their…

Image of lorry in snowAs you know, technology is advancing day-by-day and almost everything you do involves using it. Fleet managers often find it difficult to fulfil their staff training duties and if they do want to train their staff it is often quite costly. Up until now fleet owners have had two options when it comes to driver training: either paying £200,000 for a simulator of their own, or paying over £1,000 to hire the simulator for the day. The brand new third option could therefore benefit many fleet owners, managers and drivers and won’t cost half as much. These new training methods are just one of the reasons why fleets are likely to change dramatically in the future

Tadea, a training and advice company has started the Effective Transport Solutions (ETS) centre in Sunderland. The centre holds eight semi-immersive simulators and one fully-immersive simulator which are based inside a converted Mini Cooper.

The company works with individuals, businesses and communities to help change and effectively use energy and resources as well as offers training programmes to help drivers become safer, greener and most of all, more financially sustainable.

The simulators put drivers into many different scenarios and weather conditions which tests their abilities and reactions. The training improves efficiency which will help cut fuel costs, environmental impact and emissions in the long run. The simulators can result in a 10% saving on fuel costs for drivers which will ultimately helps companies make savings too.

One of the most important parts of the training process is the safer driving techniques which could potentially save business hundreds or even thousands of pounds. The training improves driver awareness and decreases the chance of an accident happening while they are on the road.

The ETS offers many different options for training sessions which will help you gain a qualification in Effective Driving Techniques.

To gain the qualification you must complete these lessons:

• Legislation including Health & Safety
• Checks & maintenance
• Hazard perception

These lessons must be complemented with two of the following:

• Fuel efficiency
• Adverse weather
• Distraction
• EV familiarisation
• Tired driving
• Motorways
• Off road (coming soon)

The prices of the training sessions are as follows:

• Full Day Training – £590.00
• Basic two hour semi-immersive session: £45
• Basic two hour fully-immersive session: £150

There are additional certification costs for the basic sessions including:

• Certificate of attendance (up to 2 subjects): £15
• Certificate of attendance (3-4 subjects): £30
• Level 1 unit accreditation (up to 2 subjects): £20
• Certificate of achievement (3-4 subjects): £40

Discussing their services, manager of ETS Gordon Pattie said: “We don’t try to replace on-the-road training, simulator training is a tremendous add-on.  The simulators are set up to slightly exaggerate some controls, but it helps the driver to focus. We’ve found different levels of engagement and ability so far.  Younger people seem to get on better. We have had a couple of people with motion sickness, but not many.”

All the trainers at ETS are fully qualified and are practising, approved driving instructors, meaning customers receive valuable advice.   Michael Nugen, an instructor at ETS, said: “One of the main advantages is the ability to reset the simulator and experience an identical situation again. If a driver crashes or performs a dangerous manoeuvre, it becomes easy to start again and, with guidance, try again.  Even if on the road you were to turn around and visit the same location, you couldn’t replicate the environment.  The simulator isn’t just working on the drivers’ reactions. Some of the other ‘virtual’ traffic has artificial intelligence that can react to your driving.”

As mentioned before, if it is not practical for you or your staff to travel to the north-east for the ETS training sessions you can always hire a mobile simulator. TIR Training in Yorkshire have two simulators that can be delivered to sites for the use of staff. Andy Rashbrooke, TIR training officer, said: “An energy company took a batch of staff through adverse weather training with us as they had issues with staffing in winter. Very few staff were making it into work in snowy conditions, so the training was designed to combat that.  When we started, companies would tend to put all their drivers through the training. Now they’re starting to become more targeted, and focus on ‘at risk’ drivers.

“We’ve started offering winter driving training for automatic vehicles, as vehicle control is quite different in an automatic in snow. Although you don’t feel the momentum, you can still feel a skid or loss of traction through steering and lack of response.  Some insurance companies are also reducing premiums for businesses who have put staff through simulator training.  It’s fantastic to offer all four seasons in five minutes.”

If you want to train your staff so they are prepared for almost any situation on the road then it is advised to attend a training session or hire a simulator for your fleet. The training will help your staff experience what would happen if the wrong decisions were to be made and even though this type of training will never replace real life, on-the-road training it can be especially helpful for those who find it difficult to change their current habits or behaviours. Training could also end up saving your company a lot of money in the long run so it ultimately benefits both staff and owners!

Photo by Pixabay

The quotes in this article were taken from Fleet News.