For those who actually play titles from the Need For Speed, Formula 1 and other racing franchises, the news shouldn't come as a surprise, as the virtual taste of speeds at insanely high velocities can easily be transferred over into the real world by a simple push of the accelerator. Denying this side effect would mean that developers didn't achieve their goal of pumping up the adrenaline and provoking white-knuckle reactions.
The survey conducted by Continental spanned across 2,000 motorists between 17 and 39 years of age. Half were regular gamers who apparently proclaimed themselves as better drivers, citing quicker responses, a better understanding of changing gears and rounding corners. They even ranked themselves as six out of ten while giving non-gamers a meager five out of ten score.
Unfortunately, the study proved otherwise.
The results showed that gamer drivers filed two times the number of insurance claims following an accident and ran twice as many red lights over a twelve month period than non-gamers. They were also found to be twice as likely to suffer road rage (cough) and take risks on the road like accelerating too quickly to pass a slower car. The problems only worsened for those who played driving games for more than eight hours a week.
"It seems that while gamers develop useful skills and are more confident, they need to apply some balance with a sensible assessment of risk," said Tim Bailey, a safety expert at Continental. "Playing computer driving games means good concentration levels and improved reaction times. However, they can take more risks than non-gaming drivers, possibly due to the lack of real consequences in games."
"The most important issues for driving safely are concentration, an appreciation of road and vehicle conditions and an awareness of potential risks," he added. "Clearly, driving games can develop these skills, but that has to be balanced."
Bailey said that Continental Tyres is currently working with the Institute of Advanced Motorists to have the gamers' driving skills independently accessed. To see the results generated by Continental's study, head here.