back to top

State of The Art Simulator Readies Snow Plow Drivers

Drivers said the simulator gave a very real-world experience.

The snow will be here before you know it and recently some snowplow operators got first-hand simulation training to help them prepare for the winter season

George Perez is with L3, a Salt Lake City company that tours the country with a semi, which is filled with computers and simulation equipment.  It was parked earlier this month at the VDOT Center in Salem.

Drivers sit in stations on either end of the trailer.  They’re surrounded by three screens which represent the windshield and side windows of a snowplow.  There’s a brake, accelerator, and even an ignition key.

“In our simulators, they get to practice their driving skills and decision making skills, as they’re pushing snow and contending with the traffic.  We can put them into different types of scenarios where they have to make decisions–safe decisions–to avoid injuries, fatalities and, of course, property damage.”

Perez says the simulations are based on real-life scenarios.

“Pushing snow, from the public’s view, all they see is having their roads cleared.  But for the operators, they’re multi-tasking, they work long hours, and under hazardous conditions of the weather.  And, of course, it’s easy to lose control of their vehicle because it operates in different dynamics.  So, if we can put them through the skills, through the drills of honing those skills, they become better operators out there when they’re pushing that snow.”

It’s L3’s sixth year of being involved with VDOT.  They’ve trained people in Fredericksburg and Culpepper and two cities in Maryland recently, and a sister mobile unit is in Kentucky.

VDOT spokesman Jason Bond says they have 316 operators in the 12 county region and they had hoped to get about 65 people through the training during the week the simulator was in Salem.  About 40 of those are new employees.

“It’s a great opportunity, especially for those folks to get training.”

“This is a great opportunity for our equipment operators and snowplow drivers to get some hands on experience before the snow starts to fall.  And it’s a great training mechanism.  I mean, all types of professionals use simulators-everything from pilots to law enforcement.  So, why not include our snowplow operators in simulator training?”

Doyle Eaton was one of the students taking the training.  He’s been driving a snowplow for 14 years.

“It kind of reinforced what I already know since I am experienced.  It reinforced to keeping your eyes on your right and left, – your peripheral vision.  And just watch for other people is one main thing-and other objects, fixed objects-also.”

“After you got into it, at first, you felt like you were at a video game.  But then after you really focused on the screen, it did seem real.  There was actually a truck sitting on a ramp and when I came up on it, I jerked the wheel, just like natural.”

“And what happened?”

“I went around it.  He (Perez) said other people had hit it before.”

“There’s some guys in there. . . that don’t have experience.”

“It’s really a good training tool for new employees, for sure.”

Doyle says he wished he could have received this type of training before he started 14 years ago.

Latest Articles

- Advertisement -Fox Radio CBS Sports Radio Advertisement

Latest Articles

- Advertisement -Fox Radio CBS Sports Radio Advertisement

Related Articles