Since the first interactive bus driving simulator in the U.S. was purchased by one of the major US agencies in the early 90′s, these systems have purportedly helped save untold millions in training costs and reduced collisions and accidents immeasurably in novice and even experienced drivers. While large transit systems purchase these simulators for training their drivers, there are many systems available to those that purchase a school bus for sale and are inexperienced with driving them safely and correctly. Let’s look at the benefits of bus simulation training, and what it can do to help novice drivers become more aware, alert, and safe via scenario training.
Hazard perception and anticipation may be the most important skills for bus drivers or any driver for that matter. Drivers with better hazard perception skills have a much better mental picture of their driving environment and therefore can anticipate challenges rather than reacting after the fact. Novice bus drivers, such as those that purchase a school bus for sale for either personal or business use, usually don’t have traffic experience from behind the wheel of a bus. Consequently, they have not developed a workable mental picture so that they can have the perception to correctly predict traffic scenarios like experienced bus drivers.
A simulator can present high risk scenarios that cannot be safely replicated in the real world. The ability to train over and over again with these scenarios has been shown to be effective in both mental attitude and muscle memory for drivers. For example, the “rocking and rolling” technique can be safely practiced with a simulator environment. This technique is designed to teach drivers how to physically move forward and side to side in their seat to complete turns so that they have better vision of temporarily obstructed objects. The goal is to make this a natural reaction during turns so that unseen pedestrians or fixed objects can be avoided.
It is the unexpected that causes the majority of intersection collisions, and for those that have purchased a school bus for sale, this may be one of the most important fundamental safety exercises. Simulators help the driver learn how to process more information simultaneously as they approach and move through intersections. Bus drivers will learn how to scan the intersection before arrival while taking mental snapshots of possible hazards, keep possible defensive measures in mind, and utilize the “rock and roll” technique when turning at an intersection.
While a simulator is not intended to be the sole means of training, when used conjunction with real world experiences, it can create the different mindset, driving protocols, and safety/observance standards that are inherent to safely driving a bus. So, before you purchase that school bus for sale to drive across country, take your band on the road, or shuttle your group passengers, keep in mind that affordable simulators can be part of your training to make you a safer driver.