Although the use of a driving simulator in driver training has many advantages for the apprentice, steering instructors often hesitate to use it. Students sometimes prefer to start their training in a real car and think of a simulator as a game. However, a driving simulator is definitely not a game: you learn the skills necessary to drive a car safely.
In a good simulator, the emphasis is on participation in traffic, traffic rules and traffic management in real traffic scenarios, not just vehicle control. And these are precisely the most difficult skills to learn in an apprentice car. A good steering simulator has the following properties:
Skills are trained in a way that avoids mental overload in the student. The training focuses on the automation of steering tasks such as shifting, lane change, steering techniques, sweeping when approaching an intersection, negotiating roundabouts, entering the highway, overtaking, etc.
Many traffic situations are practiced in a short period of time, which allows the student to gain sufficient driving experience. In a simulator, specific skills can be trained very effectively. For example, in an hour, the student can drive in a virtual world and find many more intersections than when driving in an apprentice car in the real world. When approaching each intersection, visual scanning, use of indications and gears, speed control and priority rules can be trained and evaluated very effectively. Lack of driving experience in relevant traffic situations is one of the most important aspects of driver training and is a determining factor in driver safety.
During a typical lesson in an apprentice car, the instructor has little control over instructional traffic situations: they occur more or less randomly. During the lessons in a simulator, instructional scenarios result in timely learning moments with a high training value, and it is guaranteed that they will happen. A simulator class has guaranteed effectiveness for all students.
A good research simulator has a ‘virtual trainer’, which continuously evaluates student behavior. Provides immediate feedback when the student makes a mistake. This rapid and systematic feedback results in faster learning of errors.
In a simulator, students learn to drive in a safe, stress-free environment. The consequences of an error are not as serious as in the real world. Most people learn faster and better when they feel safe and relaxed.
A study in the United States has clearly shown that learning to drive a simulator has positive effects on traffic safety. The accident rate of students trained in a simulator was reduced to 34% of the national average in the two years after training. This is equivalent to a 66% reduction in the number of accidents in young drivers.
When looking for a driving school, it is recommended that students see which one has a simulator. You can learn to drive better and it can also be cheaper.