Monday, July 22, 2024

CFCC’s new truck simulator gives students a chance to drive in dangerous conditions from the safety of class

In Eastern Carolina, it's hard to find mountainous terrain to practice downshifting an 18-wheeler. Cape Fear Community College's new program has a solution for that.

At CFCC those wanting to get their CDL can simulate driving conditions that would normally not be found in Coastal Carolina (Port City Daily/Michael Praats)
At CFCC those wanting to get their CDL can simulate driving conditions that would normally not be found in Coastal Carolina. (Port City Daily/Michael Praats)

WILMINGTON — One of the many perks of living in the Cape Fear region includes the relatively year-round warm weather and beautiful coastal terrain and while this is appealing for most people, it poses a unique problem for students at Cape Fear Community College’s students hoping to get their commercial drivers license. But thanks to technology, students training to become truck drivers now have the opportunity to experience new driving conditions including ice, snow, and mountains without ever leaving campus.

“CFCC recently added a Doron simulator system to the truck driver training, law enforcement, and emergency response programs. The system helps students prepare for driving in hazardous road conditions and on challenging terrain,” Sonya Johnson, Director of Marketing and Communications said.

The simulator consists of three large monitors and a full size replica of a truck cab (Port City Daily/Michael Praats)
The simulator consists of three large monitors and a full size replica of a truck cab (Port City Daily/Michael Praats)

On Tuesday, CFCC held an open house for the media and interested parties to take a look at the simulator and see just how things operate.

The simulator consists of three large monitors and a full-sized truck cab replica. As you start the virtual engine the simulator comes to life, the seat and steering wheel shake and if you miss your timing during a gear shift gears will audibly grind. It might not be the real thing, but for the beginning driver that is probably for the best.

“Everyone knows that in the blink of an eye a normal drive can become dangerous,” CFCC president Jim Morton said. “This simulator will help our students become as prepared as they can be to face driving hazards. When driving is a large part of your day’s work, it’s so important to have training that will prepare you for inevitable challenges.”

The simulator has only been at CFCC for about three months now and the first class of students are just now getting to use it, according to Vocational Department Chair Shawn Dixon.

“This is the first class we have had using it. The whole idea behind this is we wanted to make it where students would get more of a feel before they get on the road with a big piece of equipment, public safety is at stake. But on top of that, our students never get to drive in the snow, in the mountains or that kind of stuff,” Dixon said.

For anyone interested in getting their CDL and becoming a truck driver, the program at CFCC takes eight weeks and CFCC even offers testing on location. For more information on the program, visit CFCC online.


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