Video Games Teach Us How To Be Better Bad Drivers

Video Games Teach Us How To Be Better Bad Drivers

A new study conducted by Continental Tyres has found that players of driving video games are better at passing their drivers test than non-gaming drivers. Unfortunately they suck at everything else.

You know that feeling you get while you’re playing a racing game like Burnout Paradise or Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit when you blaze through a track at top speed, weaving in and out of traffic without a scratch? That’s just a feeling. It’s not real.

I shouldn’t have to say that, but the Continental Tyres study suggests I might need to. The study polled 1000 gamers and 1000 non-gamers between the ages of 17 and 39 about their driving habits. Researchers discovered that video game driving enthusiasts are some of the most over-confident bastards on the road, without the skills to back up the cockiness.

Video game drivers are more likely to crash. They’re more likely to hit things while parking, or accidentally clip other cars. They tend to drive the wrong way down a one-way street more often, and regularly run red lights.

It’s not that video game drivers don’t possess basic driving skills. The study found that gaming drivers tend to pass their driver’s test after an average of two tries, while non-gamers take an average of three.

No, their downfall is their hubris. Continental Tyres safety expert Tim Bailey explains.

“This is an interesting piece of research. It seems that while gamers develop useful skills and are more confident, they need to apply some balance with a sensible assessment of risk. 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.”

No real consequence? Those achievements don’t earn themselves, sir!

It gets worse the more time driving game players spend behind the virtual wheel as well, with those that play more than 8 hours a day three times more likely to get into an accident than those that play for less than an hour on average.

One in five driving game players feels that the game time makes them a better driver. One look at this chart proves them wrong.


Tim Bailey and the Continental Tyres crew are planning to work with the Institute of Advanced Driving in the UK to independently access gamer’s driving skills, hopefully on an extremely closed course with armed guards surrounding the perimeter.

Video Gamers More Dangerous Drivers Than Non-Gamers [Jalopnik]


  • I think there’s a bit too much of a focus on games – these are probably the same guys that ride every corner in the V8s and every explosion in NASCAR; probably more accurate to say car enthusiasts who don’t have any specialised training are overconfident (and marginally worse as a result) drivers.

    But okay… driving ‘gamers’ have more parking/minor accidents, but fewer accidents in the last 12 months… which leads me to conclude there is a very big discrepancy between the ability of drivers in each group?

    I don’t know, maybe I’m confusing myself – it seems wrong that they have more accidents, but fewer accidents on average over the last year.

  • I agree with Ambrose, if a ‘gamer’ is playing a car game for more than 8 hours a day (wtf) then that is a petrol head that plays games. Even in the depths of my GT5 obsession (70 cars in garage, level 27) I would only play for a couple of hours at most before a change of pace is required. It’s interesting, I can see the correlation, especially if someone is drunk or something, they might get mixed up with games.

  • More proof that EVERYONE needs to play games!

    Like the person that drove into me, on my driving test, then drove off as fast as they could!

    And the person who rear-ended me on a slip road!

    And the person who drove into my side because they thought the road was clear, even though they couldn’t see!

    I wouldn’t normally complain, but I’ve only been driving two years and have never caused an accident once.

  • Another “study” into proving that games and poor behaviour are somehow linked? This report provides no evidence that video games effect the way we drive, all it proves is that more “high risk” drivers are attracted to driving games.

    Not everyone who decides to play a driving video game is going to cause a problem on our roads, but “high risk” drivers do prefer them over other sorts of games. Not everyone that plays a violent game is going to go around committing crimes, although voilent people are more likely to enjoy that sort of game.

    The fact to the matter is that the games are not the problem, the people attracted to that sort of game are.

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