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Simulation Forgives – Reality Does Not; Driver Training in the Next 10 Years.

Pallavicini, M R

Driver Licensing & Training

2010

In spite of modern trends in driver training, which encourage the learner driver to experience a wide range of driving environments before getting their licence, there are many potential hazards for which the learner driver cannot be prepared through on-road training. Examples are:

• A kangaroo jumping into one’s path on the highways;

• Blinding rain or fog;

• Sudden sharp bends on our country roads framed by tall trees;

• Other traffic participants who don’t know, or even want to know, how to handle a roundabout;

• Impatient drivers overtaking on narrow and dangerous country roads;

• A fast motor cycle passing a car and then turning sharp left;

• Driving in snow and hailstorms, on iced-up roads often called “black ice”;

• Overtaking long vehicles such as B-Doubles, particularly when the truck driver decides to speed up;

• Falling asleep behind the wheel;

• Driver distraction by the mobile telephone, text message or an interesting sight in the traffic lane next to you, etc;

• Interacting appropriately to the passage of emergency vehicles.

A driving simulator can produce any, all and more of these situations. Any damage occurring as a result of a hazard materializing in the simulator is “virtual”, i.e. confected illusion. The learner drive leaving the simulator might shake and tremble, but “Simulation forgives – the reality does not”. A driver beset by these hazards in an on-road situation might not survive or become a real risk.