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Gamers Far Worse Drivers than Non-Gamers

By - Source: EDGE | B 64 comments

Fans of Need For Speed and Formula 1 apparently suck at driving.

A recent study conducted by Continental Tyres has discovered that non-gamers make better drivers than those who regularly play driving games on the PC or console.

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.

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  • 1 Hide
    Computerrock1 , February 24, 2011 11:32 PM
    No surprise there.
  • 4 Hide
    nforce4max , February 24, 2011 11:33 PM
    -_-

    Facepalm, like we care. They make studies like this to prove that we don't measure up to the rest of society ignoring the obvious.
  • 4 Hide
    azconnie , February 24, 2011 11:46 PM
    Not going to release my age, but suffice to say, I fit the demographic. I started driving at 16, licened by 18. To date I have had 2 vehicles, a 1998 Pontiac Bonneville, and my current, a 1986 Jeep Cherokee with a manual transmission (stick shift). To date, I have hit 3 curbs, and accidentally backed into my mothers car once (damage was mostly cosmetic). I have been gaming since 12 when I got the original Xbox. I have played every NFS title (technically they are my brothers, but I entertain them) and most of both the midnight club, and Forza series.

    I say that to say this, bad driving is bad driving. Here is a study for you, every member of my family is middle class. Most of us are day labor, several are farmers. I have witnessed one accident, the people involved were both fairly affluent (I say this because they were driving new cars). According to this study, rich people are crappy drivers. This study seems to fit, as rich people tend to have game money.

    Yeah, I know. Thats all crap, and so my point is made.

    Frald out. Goodnight folks.
  • 4 Hide
    yrmoma , February 24, 2011 11:47 PM
    Worse drivers doesn't mean the same thing as more legal/safer drivers. There's a huge difference. Huge.
  • -3 Hide
    yrmoma , February 24, 2011 11:47 PM
    Worse drivers doesn't mean the same thing as more legal/safer drivers. There's a huge difference. Huge.
  • -4 Hide
    yrmoma , February 24, 2011 11:47 PM
    Worse drivers doesn't mean the same thing as more legal/safer drivers. There's a huge difference. Huge.
  • 7 Hide
    kinggraves , February 24, 2011 11:47 PM
    "The most important issues for driving safely are concentration, an appreciation of road and vehicle conditions and an awareness of potential risks,"

    I agree, so how do testing things like how many insurance claims they file or how many red lights they run prove they lack concentration or perspective? Professional drivers do not prove how skilled they are by driving at the speed limit and stopping at red lights. The gamers break more rules and take more risks because they're more comfortable doing so. If the results were something more direct such as comparing the accidents of the two test groups under the exact same driving conditions then they might be more meaningful, but just asking vague questions like this are an inaccurate testing method. The gamer group might drive in more dangerous areas or during more congested times of day than the nongamer group, corrupting the results.

    It's pretty sad how so few of these "research groups" seem to understand the basic scientific methods of testing taught in grade school.
  • 2 Hide
    azconnie , February 24, 2011 11:53 PM
    kinggraves"The most important issues for driving safely are concentration, an appreciation of road and vehicle conditions and an awareness of potential risks,"I agree, so how do testing things like how many insurance claims they file or how many red lights they run prove they lack concentration or perspective? Professional drivers do not prove how skilled they are by driving at the speed limit and stopping at red lights. The gamers break more rules and take more risks because they're more comfortable doing so. If the results were something more direct such as comparing the accidents of the two test groups under the exact same driving conditions then they might be more meaningful, but just asking vague questions like this are an inaccurate testing method. The gamer group might drive in more dangerous areas or during more congested times of day than the nongamer group, corrupting the results.It's pretty sad how so few of these "research groups" seem to understand the basic scientific methods of testing taught in grade school.


    Thank you. That is an excellent point, but I counter point.

    I drive pretty hot, especially for the old truck. But I ALWAYS have plenty of clearance.

    Example, I spent a week in albany pulling a 1000Lb trailer in town. I routinly passed people, and ran at the speed limit. During the whole week, I had one horn blown at me, and that was because the guy didn't see my blinker after 50Yds.

    It is my opinion that test groups are selected based on the desired results.
  • 4 Hide
    alyon , February 24, 2011 11:54 PM
    A "Good" driver and a safe driver are two different things. The people in the survey have two different definitions of a good driver. If you have manual transmission and heel-toe brake a corner successfully are you a good driver? If you have no wrecks on your record are you automatically a good driver? So Good-safe, Good-risky, Bad-risky, and Bad-safe are more likely and fair compared to just good and bad.

    I would say racing video games make people shift from safe to risky drivers... not good to bad.
  • 3 Hide
    ctbaars , February 25, 2011 12:00 AM
    Another trend is that those who are insulted by a study result, call it BS.
  • 4 Hide
    someguynamedmatt , February 25, 2011 12:04 AM
    Am I the only person who read the title of this and thought they were talking about software drivers instead of actually driving a vehicle?

    God, am I tired...
  • 4 Hide
    wild9 , February 25, 2011 12:09 AM
    Before the age of sophisticated next-gen consoles I witnessed no end of idiots racing round the streets in their chav boxes, music bleating out whilst they tail-gate, drive too fast, break too late, or just menace other people off the road thinking they own it. I don't think a certain element really needs good driving games to fire their enthusiasm to act like pricks..
  • 1 Hide
    wild9 , February 25, 2011 12:14 AM
    someguynamedmattAm I the only person who read the title of this and thought they were talking about software drivers instead of actually driving a vehicle?God, am I tired...


    lol matt, nice one. Join me on the front-side-bus as we prepare for hyper-transport yaaaaaay. Goodnight xD.
  • -1 Hide
    N19h7M4r3 , February 25, 2011 12:25 AM
    azconnieNot going to release my age, but suffice to say, I fit the demographic. I started driving at 16, licened by 18. To date I have had 2 vehicles, a 1998 Pontiac Bonneville, and my current, a 1986 Jeep Cherokee with a manual transmission (stick shift). To date, I have hit 3 curbs, and accidentally backed into my mothers car once (damage was mostly cosmetic). I have been gaming since 12 when I got the original Xbox. I have played every NFS title (technically they are my brothers, but I entertain them) and most of both the midnight club, and Forza series. I say that to say this, bad driving is bad driving. Here is a study for you, every member of my family is middle class. Most of us are day labor, several are farmers. I have witnessed one accident, the people involved were both fairly affluent (I say this because they were driving new cars). According to this study, rich people are crappy drivers. This study seems to fit, as rich people tend to have game money.Yeah, I know. Thats all crap, and so my point is made.Frald out. Goodnight folks.

    No one cares...
    Plus, good drivers dont play need for speed, they play LFS or GTR and some might say GT5, and to some extent forza.
    I like to play racing cars, and havent taken the GT5 disk out of my PS3 since it came out. But i dont like to drive that fast... most of my friends call me granny. I actually just got my license 5 months ago, when i decided i was mature enough to have it (i'm 23) I know i already drive a lot better then most people will ever drive. But that in itself doesnt make me a maniac... I particularly hate to drive fast, not because I dont know how to, but because people are insane, and i'm not in a god dam closed circuit inside a carbon fiber monoque with flame resistent clothing.
    Being an A-hole while driving cant be linked to gaming with this test, as it doesnt distinguish which comes first... If playing racing games leads to being an A-hole, or if A-hole drivers tend to be attracted to games. Drinving A-holes have been around for a lot longer then racing games.
    Oh and btw has anyone ever seen a gamer entering a motorway going the wrong way?
  • 1 Hide
    azconnie , February 25, 2011 12:31 AM
    N19h7M4r3No one cares...Plus, good drivers dont play need for speed, they play LFS or GTR and some might say GT5, and to some extent forza.I like to play racing cars, and havent taken the GT5 disk out of my PS3 since it came out. But i dont like to drive that fast... most of my friends call me granny. I actually just got my license 5 months ago, when i decided i was mature enough to have it (i'm 23) I know i already drive a lot better then most people will ever drive. But that in itself doesnt make me a maniac... I particularly hate to drive fast, not because I dont know how to, but because people are insane, and i'm not in a god dam closed circuit inside a carbon fiber monoque with flame resistent clothing.Being an A-hole while driving cant be linked to gaming with this test, as it doesnt distinguish which comes first... If playing racing games leads to being an A-hole, or if A-hole drivers tend to be attracted to games. Drinving A-holes have been around for a lot longer then racing games.Oh and btw has anyone ever seen a gamer entering a motorway going the wrong way?


    You missed the point of the comment. The whole point in the anicdote was that games have no bearing on the ability to drive well.

    As for your driving style, thats very good. The only reason I drive hot is because I know my abilities, and I know my vehicle. I don't exceed the speed limit (except when passing occasionally), and I always make sure to have a comfortable distance to anything. None of these things came from games, the came from actually driving.
  • 1 Hide
    Black_jack , February 25, 2011 1:05 AM
    While I'm impressed with their sample size, the study fails to show if playing racing games actually causes people to drive more erratically. This is a correlational study. There is a relationship between the two. However we can't tell if erratic drivers are more likely to play racing games or people who play racing games are more erratic drivers.

    If they want to show that racing games cause people to drive erratically, bring some non-gamers into the lab, introduce them to a racing game, and record their progress over a few months.

    'Grandma is that Need for Speed?'
    "Shut up nub. There are cookies for you in the oven."
  • 3 Hide
    scooterboi , February 25, 2011 1:15 AM
    because in video games... a red light is a green light
  • 1 Hide
    alidan , February 25, 2011 2:16 AM
    here is a fun fact.

    every car in america, is illegal to drive.
    a cop has told me once, that if they want to pull you over, they can, because no car is every 100% street legal. the laws are so convoluted that ANYTHING can be illegal.
  • 0 Hide
    t2couger , February 25, 2011 2:22 AM
    yeh i believe those studies like i believe women drive better... and they have cheaper insurance because of it....
  • 0 Hide
    dgriffs , February 25, 2011 2:41 AM
    There's a difference between being a very cautious driver and actually having the skill to maneuver a vehicle. I know plenty of people that are "safe" drivers but can barely drive in reverse or cant even parallel park.
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