If your driving simulator allows for custom scenarios, you’ve probably used that function to reconstruct an accident. This is an excellent way to address an operator’s issues with laser-like accuracy and quickly get them back on their routes.
But you can get even more bang for your buck if you take those reconstructions, and work them into your core training program.
Using Accident Reconstruction to Guide your Driving Simulator Usage
One operator exhibiting a chronic problem behind the wheel may simply be one person with one bad habit. But, more often than not, their bad habit arises from some unique aspect of the environment: the way drivers behave in your city, the placement of concrete planters in a certain neighborhood, the layout or width of streets, local weather conditions, congestion on your transit routes, and so on. What’s a “chronic problem” with that one operator is likely an ongoing issue for many of your drivers. These are excellent issues to address on a training scenario; a half-minute in the sim can avoid thousands of dollars in damage.
Todd Cheever is the Director of Safety and Training NICE Bus on Long Island (the Nassau Inter-County Express; a large agency with at more than 600 operators and hundreds of pieces of equipment).
As an example, Cheever describes an operator who chronically clips fixed objects during right turns. This could have many causes (e.g., sightlines, bad habit, poor situational awareness)—and the operator’s impression of the cause may differ from the true cause (remember the ever-present Dunning-Kruger Effect people chronically overestimate their skills, especially when they “under observe” their environment)
At NICE, this situation would be investigated by an SQM (service quality manager), who would view video and other records when possible (95% of NICE’s equipment have, at minimum, event-triggered video capture systems). NICE trainers then adapt this situation to a simulation training scenario. Now they can put that operator through their problem area, and really dial into both what’s gone wrong and how that driver can start doing it right.
Using Retraining to Customize Your Driving Simulator
Cheever has found that “being able to actually put them in the situation again, safely, behind the wheel of a driving simulator is tremendously beneficial because it’s tremendously proactive. Too often, our approach to retraining is reactive, and sort of like getting scolded by the teacher. It ends up sounding like ‘You made a mistake! You’re dopey! You shouldn’t ever have had anything like that happen!’ You’re gonna shut someone down as soon as you start like that. But with the sim, it works very well, because you engage their interest.”
Using the simulator in this way is an active, cooperative problem-solving approach</a>, where trainer and operator can work together to figure out what’s going on. “You can put a car or other obstacle precisely in the problem position for that driver, and put the bus in the same swing position that caused the issue. Then, running through that scenario, the driver can really learn a lot in a very short retraining session.”
Most importantly, this specific remediation (crafted for a specific driver who makes a specific mistake) can then be fed back into your core training program. Using your retraining efforts to sculpt your training program is an excellent way to improve your entire training program and nip problems in the bud.
Want to discuss custom training and driving simulator options further? Contact one of your simulation specialists now.