The Free Press, Mankato, MN

March 3, 2013

VIDEO: MnDOT Snowplow Drivers Train in a Simulator

By John Cross
The Free Press

MANKATO — The vagaries of a Minnesota winter make it difficult for a snowplow driver to count on opportunities to polish his or her driving skills.

But thanks to a state-of-the-art snowplow simulator at the Minnesota Department of Transportation district headquarters in Mankato through Thursday, about 60 MnDOT drivers, along with drivers from area counties and communities, got to plow a lot of computer-generated snow while getting their technique evaluated.

Housed in a semi-trailer, drivers got to drive through a variety of computer-generated scenarios projected on flat-screen televisions that recreate the view from a snowplow cab.

The simulators are equipped with all of the controls and displays of an actual snowplow truck, right down to an ignition switch.

After running through a variety of snowplowing scenarios, drivers are evaluated on their techniques and decision making based on terrain, grade, weather and traffic patterns.