Driving games make you worse at driving

A new study has shown that people who play video games that include driving are actually more likely to be worse drivers on the road.  A study by British tire manufacturer Continental Tyres, based in West Drayton in Middlesex, southeast England shows the people who play driving video games in their spare time are more likely to attempt risky maneuvers when behind the wheel and could be more dangerous.

The study studied Gran Turismo and Grand Theft Auto and showed that people who play them are more likely to take their risky driving in the video games into the streets.  This could include taking risky turns, turning red lights or attempting more dangerous activity while driving.  Finally, the study concluded that players who play these games are more likely to crash in the real world.

I found this report very interesting and I would tend to believe it to some extent.  Having experienced playing these types of games they do tend to give you a feeling of empowerment and that you can do anything while driving without getting hurt.  While this is simply a theory, the study has apparently shown correlation between the two activities.  It could introduce a problem for video game developers if this theory is given more light.




4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. DavidBraid
    Feb 01, 2011 @ 11:23:36

    that’s really interesting. I would have thought the opposite. I once read an article that seemed to indicate that people’s driving skills and information about cares actually increase dramatically. Though I guess the more you think about it, the more skillfull you think you are the more dangerous you are likely to drive. thanks for posting this article.


  2. Merz
    Feb 01, 2011 @ 11:37:11

    Agreeing with David, there was a story not too long ago from “Top Gear” a british television show about cars and racing, in which they invited the number one driver (as found in the overall score of the game) of Grand Turismo 5 out to a actual formula 1 track. It turns out he did very very well, near professional level even though he had never driven anything like that outside the video game (he drove a honda civic normally).
    So in terms of being a “worse” driver, I highly doubt that is a good word to use for the study, but a more “risky” driver is possible. However, as studies have come out showing correlations between violence and video games, and also studies that show no correlation between violence and video games, I bet we could find a study that says video game drivers are better drivers and can recovers from situations most could not!
    Just speculation!


  3. Alex Rich
    Feb 02, 2011 @ 20:59:25

    I whole-heartedly agree with this study and have witnessed the negative effects of driving videogames first hand on multiple occasions. There are two reasons why driving video games encourage learning to drive recklessly and both relate to principles we discussed in class. First and foremost, driving video games lack realism. Fort starters, most driving video games are played with a standard controller that by no means mimics what it’s actually like to control a car. While driving games may teach you how to execute certain maneuvers using a XBOX controller this knowledge is not transferable to the real world and many gamers tend to think that they can use what they learned playing a video game on the open road (this never ends well). Moreover, driving video games do not mimic the traction and sensitivity of a real car. In Gran Turismo I can take a hairpin turn in a car at over 90 MPH without skidding out. Taking such an extreme turn at such a high speed is not feasible in real life and having gamers on the road who believe such a feat is possible is dangerous. Another aspect of driving games that encourages reckless driving relates to the idea of reversible consequences. In a driving videogame if you crash you either start over or are able to continue to drive in a damaged somewhat less capable car. Morevoer, the driver in driving video games, no matter how bad the collision, is never hurt. This subconsciously instills a sense of invincibility in the gamers mind and leads him to believe there is no risk associated with making extreme maneuvers in real life. Not only do drivers get hurt in real life but cars blow up and pose a serious risk to the objects and people surrounding them. Reversible consequence driving instills a reckless and invicible mentaility in gamers which, when brought onto the open road, can result in deadly consequences.

    Word Count: 322


  4. Sayan Bhattacharyya
    Feb 06, 2011 @ 22:42:19

    This discussion reminds me of the ongoing debate here at UM about the use of simulators (versus live animals) in Survival Flight nurses’ emergency training:


    Mark Lowell, a doctor at UM, writes in the above op-ed that was published in the Daily on January 19:

    “There’s no rubber-coated mechanical simulator on Earth capable of replicating the experience of performing these incisions on a living being.

    “The first time one of our nurses is called upon to perform one of these procedures will be for a critically ill patient, and any hesitation or mistake made during the performance of the procedure may result in the patient’s death — nurses must be 100 percent prepared to act promptly and correctly.

    “There’s no credible research that supports the complete elimination of animals for Survival Flight nurse training. Simulators haven’t evolved to the point where they’re superior to training on an animal model for certain surgical procedures.”

    Likewise, it seems very likely that no matter how realistic driving-based games get, they are likely to be less realistic than the actual experience of driving…


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