Simulation Based, Reality Driven: A Sneak Peek into the TMC Simulator Room
As part of TMC’s commitment to training and driver safety, we’ve invested in four top-of-the-line simulators housed in our Des Moines Training Center. Simulator training is a rite of passage for any new TMC hire going through orientation, with the occasional office staff or visiting customer climbing in the seat to see what it’s like to drive a rig!
These impressive machines can simulate a variety of different driving conditions: snow, rain, ice, wind, sun glare, fog, city driving, and mountain driving. This enables training for some of the worst driving conditions from the safety of a chair!
In orientation, we use the simulators for a couple of different types of training –teaching shifting patterns for those that have never driven a 13-speed or 9-speed transmission, as well as defensive driving. TMC Trainer Coordinator Matt Jorgensen sets up a variety of scenarios for the students and goes over them afterwards with them. The simulators enable Matt to re-play the scenarios for the students on the screen, and analyze it like “game film.” He and the students can review the results from all points-of-view: side view, top view, cab view. Some key lessons emphasized are decision-making and defensive driving, checking mirrors enough and at correct times, and paying attention to signs and catching ones that are truck-specific.
According to Matt, “For our drivers, it’s all about teaching good decision-making, defensive driving, and establishing good habits. For non-drivers trying it out, it hopefully gives them an appreciation for all that goes into driving a truck and what drivers go through every day.”