Most experts agree that investments in driver training can yield many advantages. Although traditional driver training consists of in-vehicle training and classroom theory, adding car driving simulator to it could have many benefits. After all, nowadays we have increased realism in image production and decreased costs of software and hardware, therefore driving simulators and training based on them have become more feasible and attractive. So, what are potential benefits of car driving simulators and should any driver training consist of them?
Car driving simulators can simulate behavior of virtual traffic, different road layouts and weather conditions as a function of research aims or training needs. Using these type of simulators enable participants to “drive” under the exact same conditions no matter where they are physically. For that reason, a car driving simulator can be used to create standardized driving tests and, for research purposes, very reproducible results.
As a driver, even if you’re only learning to drive in real traffic, you can encounter dangerous driving conditions. This is, of course, stressful even for a very experienced driver, but for a beginner or a trainee, it’s a nightmare. With a car driving simulator, you’ll be able to take part in potentially dangerous driving conditions, but you won’t be physically at risk. This can prepare a trainee to handle safety-critical and unpredictable task which and that’s something that would be completely inappropriate to practice as a part of traditional driving training. After all, exposing a driver to any dangerous driving task would be rather ethically questionable in a real vehicle, wouldn’t it?
Finally, a car simulator offer an additional opportunity for instruction and feedback that cannot be easily achieved in a real car. For instance, you can replay, reset or freeze a scenario and use it to deliver instructions and feedback in other modalities besides speech; trainees will remember better something they “see” compared to something they “hear”.