TDOT uses hi-tech simulator to train snowplow drivers - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

TDOT uses hi-tech simulator to train snowplow drivers

Posted: Updated:

It doesn't take much snow to make Tennessee Valley streets dangerous for drivers. We rely on TDOT snow plow operators to safely clear our roads, but in the past, their training consisted mainly of advice from coworkers.

Now TDOT is getting ready by using high-tech simulators to help prepare new crew members.

"I believe I'm ready. I won't know until I'm tested. I always like a good challenge," says TDOT driver James Lankford II.

He's never driven a snow plow, only a dump truck. That's why he's been going through the simulation training to sharpen his skills.

"It also showed me how much different running that plow in front of a truck is rather than just driving a regular dump truck,"  adds Lankford.

Scott Price, who is leading the training, says the simulator gives drivers a safe environment for getting the most realistic feel behind the wheel.

"If they wreck the truck or hit Johnny or run into a deer, that's easy inside because we can hit the magic mouse button on the computer and everything comes back," says Price.

The machine simulates snowy, icy, and windy conditions. Trainees learn defensive driving techniques, and obstacles are introduced to test their reflexes.

I took the driver's seat for a beginner's course. According to Price, I did pretty well.

"So far so good. You're doing fine," Price says to me.

On their first assignments, drivers may get paired with someone more experienced. But TDOT supervisor Tim Worley says they have to be ready to do it alone.

"So we give them every opportunity, as far as new employees, every opportunity to learn whatever they need to know before they go out there," says Worley.

TDOT started using the simulators in 2012, and Worley says the program's been very successful.

"It's very effective, and they talk about it when they leave," adds Worley.

"I've really enjoyed the course. It was fun. I had a ball doing it, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat," says Lankford.

The four-hour class also includes computer-based training and written quizzes. If drivers want additional training they can take a TDOT road course and check out routes they might have to take once it snows.

WEEKLY CIRCULARS
  • NewsMore>>

  • TVA working on transmission lines

    TVA working on transmission lines

    Tuesday, April 24 2018 2:40 AM EDT2018-04-24 06:40:02 GMT
    TVA crews working on transmission lines starting Tuesday, April 24.More
    TVA crews working on transmission lines starting Tuesday, April 24. More
  • Remembering the victims of the Antioch shooting

    Remembering the victims of the Antioch shooting

    Monday, April 23 2018 1:24 AM EDT2018-04-23 05:24:32 GMT
    Monday, April 23 2018 11:52 PM EDT2018-04-24 03:52:20 GMT
    Four people were killed in the shooting early Sunday morning. (WSMV)Four people were killed in the shooting early Sunday morning. (WSMV)

    Police have identified the four victims killed at the Waffle House on Murfreesboro Pike early Sunday morning, all of whom were under 30 years old: Taurean Sanderlin, Joe Perez, DeEbony Groves, and Akilah Dasilva.

    More

    Police have identified the four victims killed at the Waffle House on Murfreesboro Pike early Sunday morning, all of whom were under 30 years old: Taurean Sanderlin, Joe Perez, DeEbony Groves, and Akilah Dasilva.

    More
  • 'It was life or death,' says man who snatched gunman's AR-15

    'It was life or death,' says man who snatched gunman's AR-15

    Sunday, April 22 2018 11:15 PM EDT2018-04-23 03:15:12 GMT
    Monday, April 23 2018 8:09 PM EDT2018-04-24 00:09:52 GMT
    (Larry McCormack/The Tennessean via AP). James Shaw Jr., shows his hand that was injured when he disarmed a shooter inside a Waffle House on Sunday, April 22, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn.   A gunman stormed the Waffle House restaurant and shot several peo...(Larry McCormack/The Tennessean via AP). James Shaw Jr., shows his hand that was injured when he disarmed a shooter inside a Waffle House on Sunday, April 22, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. A gunman stormed the Waffle House restaurant and shot several peo...
    The man who wrestled the gun away from the Nashville's Waffle House shooting suspect says he decided if he was to die, gunman would "have to work to kill me.".More
    The man who wrestled the gun away from the Nashville's Waffle House shooting suspect says he decided if he was to die, gunman would "have to work to kill me.".More
Powered by Frankly