Snow plow simulator prepares workers for winter conditions

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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. As the winter season approaches, Nebraska Department of Roads is making sure their workers are ready to get behind the wheel.

NDOR is preparing their workers to be able to drive in tough conditions, and they are able to practice now with the help of a snow plow simulator.

"You can feel your plow pull, and you can't stop," Logan Allen, a mechanic for District 6 in Mullen, said. "It will turn you sideways."

Russ Daehling is the training instructor and curriculum developer for Nebraska Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) and he said this is basically your "snow plow 101."

Each person begins by running through a two to three minute scenario to see if they will experience any case of motion sickness.

Then, the road gets a little tougher.

"Once these are done, each program we go through, has another difficulty of different situations that will come up while they're snow plowing," Daehling said.

The simulator is designed to give you the experience and practice of driving a snow plow, before actually going out on the interstate and handling it in a real storm.

The different courses range from country, town, to mountain plowing, with a variety of obstacles you may encounter along the way, such as passing vehicles, deer in the roadway, black ice, and much more.

"The trucks act a lot different with the plow down. They pull different and stuff. The simulation was very real. It felt like the road was slick," Allen said.

Daehling said, "While they're driving, we can throw different instances on this. We can have failure of the truck. We also can change the weather."

NDOR stresses the importance of employee safety while operating snow plows, and want them to be well educated before they hit the road.

"You can pick up little things that you wouldn't always pick up in real life, and you can take your real life experience and use it on the simulator too," Allen said.

The program involved the snow plow simulator along with classroom learning to ensure drivers are ready for winter storms.