February 16, 2019 Jillian Krasusky

How Simulators are Changing Drivers Education

Car accidents are the number one cause of death for teens with more than 4,000 teenage casualties each year in the United States alone. Studies have shown that drivers error was the main cause of the accidents. Why is this? “Most schools around the country aren’t teaching any driving education, but the ones that do are teaching it based on a several-decades-old model,” states Paula Vasan, a writer at The Verge. Teenagers are getting inadequate and unthorough education when it comes to driving, prompting them to not know how to react in high-pressure situations.   

This problem is exemplified by 17-year-old, Joshua Brown, who, in July of 2003, died after hitting a tree while driving on a rain-slickened highway at 40 miles per hour. Joshua’s father, Alan Brown, declared, “Practically nothing was offered to help train Joshua deal with these kinds of driving conditions.” After the death of his son, Mr. Brown lobbied for the creation of Joshua’s Law in the state of Georgia which increases traffic violation penalties by 5%, with the 5% going towards funding for innovative driver’s education for high schools in Georgia. This innovative education included new technology such as driving simulators which allow students to learn how to control themselves in multiple different situations. These simulators have had a radical effect on students driver’s education.

16-year-old student Cody Inglis who was able to experience simulator education first hand said that they made him, “…familiar with having traffic on the road,” and much more aware, particularly of “…where [his] car is relative to the road.” When commenting on the driving habits of his friends, who haven’t had the benefit of simulator training, Inglis declared, “It’s ridiculous,” drivers are “…all over the place . . . not aware of traffic and street signs.” Another graduate of simulator learning is Luke Pye, who at 18 years of age, was driving on the highway with his girlfriend when a van swerved in front of him. Pye was successfully able to maneuver his car to safety and he and his girlfriend only sustained minor bruises. Pye credits the positive end to a possibly disastrous situation to his simulator driver’s ed.

“Driving on the simulator at my high school taught me to keep calm and think clearly in stressful situations,” he says. “I believe simulation and the modern driving education that I had at my high school helped to save my life.”

Luke Pye from the article
Everyone should learn to drive in a simulator by The Verge

The article, Everyone should learn to drive in a simulator, from The Verge states, “Driving simulators replicate actual driving experiences through all types of scenarios that include vehicle handling, scanning, and hazard detection, parallel parking, and hydroplaning.” The simulation technology mimic more than 300 separate scenarios for new drivers to practice enabling them to learn how to handle themselves in any given situation. The report, Evidence of Driving Simulator Training Benefits by Pierro Hirsch, a leader of the company Virage Simulation, declared that simulator training advantages include an improvement in training quality, increase in students knowledge, and the creation of a learning environment that is versatile and easily controllable.

“One study found…drivers who received simulator training had 22% fewer crashes compared to a control group who only practiced with real cars.”

Evidence of Driving Simulator Training Benefits by Pierro Hirsch, a leader of the company Virage Simulation

It is evident that simulation technology is the new standard for driver’s education as it has a major effect on students, increasing both their knowledge on driving and their confidence in their driving ability.

https://www.theverge.com/2014/12/9/7327953/drivers-education-20-simulators

http://viragesimulation.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/2015-Hirsch-Evidence-of-Driving-Simulator-Training-Benefits.pdf https://www.caranddriver.com/features/a15129040/redesigning-driver-education-for-teenagers/

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