IDAHO FALLS — A truck simulator came to a local high school in hopes that students will want to become truck drivers one day.
On Tuesday, the Idaho Trucking Association brought the simulator to Idaho Falls High School. The simulator is set up with different weather scenarios like rain, snow and fog. It also lets students experience a blown-out tire.
“It is a real-life simulator. It’s going to show you how a truck maneuvers on the road,” said Don Best, a volunteer with the Idaho Trucking Association. “The Idaho Trucking Association launched (the simulator) this winter trying to take it around local schools around the state, trying to get people into it.”
The simulator helps to promote trucking jobs, and there’s currently a big need for drivers in the state of Idaho.
“There’s a huge shortage of drivers across the country. The last I heard was 80,000 drivers nationwide. A lot of these drivers are getting pushed out due to retirement or medical issues or things like that, and this trucking simulator is hopefully going to entice younger people to show them how great it is to drive,” Best said.
According to the Idaho Trucking Association’s website, the simulator is available to high schools in the state of Idaho. It introduces students to transportation careers with life-like experience of driving a real truck. Click here to learn more.
Natalie Black, a college and career advisor at Idaho Falls High School, said at least 40 students signed up to test drive.
“I’m trying to provide different opportunities for career pathways for students, expose them to lots of different areas that they might not be thinking about. Trucking is a huge area that we need people in, so I am just trying to bring that opportunity to our students,” she said. “The simulator throws them some different scenarios they are not expecting, so it’s a great experience.”
The simulator is a lot harder than it looks. Students can last anywhere from three to five minutes depending on their decision-making skills in the simulator.
“It was like driving for the first five seconds, but then your tire blows out, and then you don’t really know what to do, and then you go into the deep fog. Then you rear-end someone very hard!” said Beau Anderson, a senior at Idaho Falls High School.
Another student, Parker Rossi, was one of the few students who did not crash during the simulator. She said she knows people in the trucking industry, and she wanted to try the simulator because she felt it would be a good experience.
“I feel like it was really fun. When the tire popped, it was a weird feeling and it kind of freaked me out, and then with how quickly the season and nighttime and daytime changed was really weird because in reality, it wouldn’t instantly change,” Parker said. “I am very proud of myself for not crashing.”
She said after trying out the simulator, she would consider trucking as a career and believes it would make good money.
Best said that in the trucking industry, it’s possible to make six figures.
“To me, trucking is a great career path to get into. It’s a great way to make a lot of money in trucking, and there are a lot of drivers out there that are making close to six figures driving a truck, so the salary expectations are huge and there are a lot of things to see around the country. Trucking is a huge asset to our country,” he said.
Different types of driving jobs include:
- Flatbed trucks
- Dry van trucks
- Tanker trucks
- Freight haulers
- Refrigerated freight
- LTL (less than truckload) freight trucks
- Local and regional
“I think the engagements have been great. I think a lot of people don’t understand what it’s like to drive a truck, and when they hop behind the simulator to try it out, they are a little bit blown away by it. I think they are really engaged and excited to try it out,” Best said.
High schools can request the simulator. Click here to learn more.