ITD snowplow simulator provides training for drivers before they hit the road

Posted at 4:09 PM, Jan 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-11 18:09:25-05

BOISE — While it has been dry lately in the Treasure Valley, in other parts of Idaho snowplow drivers continue to work to ensure roads are safe for the public.

But how do snowplow drivers train to tackle winter weather and adverse road conditions?

A snowplow simulator provides drivers with the training they need to before hitting the road.

The simulator features three different monitors as well as all the controls you would find in an Idaho Transportation Department plow, however, the simulator also has a separate computer that controls the different scenarios and also allows an instant replay for the driver to evaluate their time in the simulator.

The simulator shows how difficult driving a plow can be as we learned that drivers need to use their mirrors to see where they are at in the road as they proceed into a white landscape.

Six on Your Side's Steve Dent tried out the simulator and ended up hitting a patch of ice and crashing.

"The goal is to not hit this stuff," said Chris Cunningham of the Idaho Transportation Department. "But it is a safe environment to do so."

The simulator really highlights how hard driving a large truck through the snow can be, ITD asks other drivers in the road to give plows room during the winter.

"Don't try to pass them, don't rush the plow and just give them space," said Cunningham. "Plows are big, they are heavy and they can't stop quickly, but don't get mad at the plow for going slow they are making it safer for everyone."

The simulator is located in a trailer making it mobile, ITD tells us they take it all over the state to conduct training, recently they went to the Mountain Home AIr Base and trained airmen so they can plow some of the roads on the base.