Car driving simulators and simulator sickness

A car driving simulator can be a great help during the driver training of young people. Apart from the opportunity these devices offer for systematic and consistent practice of many driving-related tasks, the use of such a system reduces total costs. Yet, there are two important reasons why they are still not being used very often.

The first reason it that young people often have waited a long time before they are allowed to start driving in a real car. They prefer a real car over a simulator because they see that as the real thing. If given a choice, many young people would also prefer to learn Spanish in a large extended vacation in Spain instead of in a classroom with books and a teacher in front of the class. Especially young males overestimate their driving skills and they think they will need fewer driver training lessons than on average. A simulator woild then only be an extra burden.

Apart from this misrepresentation of their own performance, there’s a second reason why simulators are frowned at. Driving instructors have a lot of driving experience and are often over 30 years of age. People with more driving experience who are over their twentees, have a higher risk on simulator sickness. That’s because they have become used to the interplay between visual input and vestibular input. So, when hey decelerate what they see and what they feel coincides. In a driving simulator, they see a deceleration and they know they decelerate, but they don’t feel it. And thats the reason they experience a form of ‘reverse’ motion sickness, called simulator sickness. Because the experience of that is so aversive, they come to dislike driving simulators. Their response is that they can’t believe it will do any good.

So both of the indicated reasons are wrong. The first one is based on an inadequate representation of skills and the seconds one is based on one’s own feelings. Young inexperienced drivers rarely experience any symptoms of simulator sickness.

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