Study: Racing games help players learn to drive... just not safely

According to a new study from British tire manufacturer Continental Tyres, people who play videogames are more likely to pass their driving test. However, that might not be a good thing -the study also shows that they're also more likely to end up in a wreck.

In the study, which polled 1000 gamers and 1000 non-gamers, more people on the gamer side said they have been in a crash. They also took the higher score in all of these categories:

- Hitting objects while parking
- Accidentally bumping or clipping another car
- Going the wrong way on a one-way street
- Using a mobile phone while driving
- Being stopped by police
- Speeding

And we've just barely begun. Yes, there were more gamers than non-gamers in every one of the dangerous driving habit categories in the survey. But check out the ones that gamers were more than twice as likely to do than non-gamers:

- Scaring others while driving
- Suffering road rage
- Taking risks
- Running a red light

"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," said Continental Tyres safety expert Tim Bailey.

So not only are we violent murderers, we're bad drivers too?! Dammit, we just can't get a break. Or brake, apparently. But who knows, maybe there's something to this survey? Ever go for a drive after a long session of Need for Speed or Mario Kart?

The tire company said it plans to continue this line of research.

Jan 31, 2011