back to article Racing games increase real world crashes

German researchers reckon that playing computer driving games encourages people men to take more risks when driving in the real world. Researchers carried out three studies using three racing games - Burnout, Midnight Racer, Need for Speed - and three non-racing control games - Tak, Crash Bandicoot and Fifa 2005. All games were …


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  1. Craig Collier

    not a fair test

    I dont think this is a fair test at all. First up - three driving games chosen are Burnout, Need For Speed and Minight Racer.

    None of these are simluation driving games, and two of them actively encourage you to crash into things. Burnout is a fun game to play, it asks you to create as much carnage as possible, and need for speed is about as far away from an emulator as is humanely possible, hit a wall at 150Mph, and the resulting speed after colllision becomes 145Mph - real world physics at its best!!

    Were they to test some REAL driving games -perhaps GT-2 on the PC- where one slip up or even a slightly off-key line into a corner and youre off into the gravel, or perhaps a more accessible simulator like Gran Turismo. Either way, i dont play the games they tested, i play real driving simulators, and i really think that the skill involved in getting round the hungaroring at an average speed of 140+mph in a race tuned dodge viper gtsr - actually makes me a better driver.

    Did any of the testers use manual; or automatic gearboxes, third person view, first person view? Clearly a bogus report, and probably about as useful to real world people as saying that crossing the road is likely to increase your chance of being run over. Stating the obvious gone mad.

  2. Arnold Lieberman

    In the next budget...

    ...Gordon Brown announces a new "arousal tax" that is designed to reduce the number of accidents caused by drivers inadvertantly grabbing the wrong gear lever during the daily rush-hour battle.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MotorSports cause speed, not gaming.

    Never in my entire life has a game caused me to drive fast.

    Now watching the motogp / formula1 or going karting is another matter altogether....

  4. John PM Chappell

    Better driver? Not likely..

    While the report looks like a pile of steaming faecal matter to me, as an ADI I can assure you that your driving game does not make you a better driver at all; it's so far from the reality of driving and utterly divorced from the concepts that actually *do* make for better driving as to have probably no impact either way. Indeed, I am often hopeless at so-called driving games precisely because they so poorly model real world experience and response (compare that to my previous experience being trained in the Police Roadcraft techniques).

  5. Mark Allen

    Games have affected me

    Back in the days of TOCA on the PC, the simulation was realistic enough to make me change how I drove my own front wheel drive car. Many laps of the race tracks using a wheel and pedals trying to trim down another tenth of a second from the lap time actually taught me how to correctly accelerate out of a corner. Something I was not doing properlly before.

    There was a close enough simulartiy between the Honda Accord on the game and my own Civic. I saw a noticable change in how I then drove my car in the future.

    Driving lessons are all very well. But my driving lesson was way back in the 80's in a rear wheel drive car. Too much of that was just getting used to the road. :)

    (Though - I would 80% agree with the article that certain driving games make one look at the road as a game race track. But my age/maturity makes me not charge around like a nutter. I wait till I get home to do that.)

  6. Andrew Tyler

    Simulation vs. Arcade

    I would be interested to see a similar study done using software that attempts to be a simulation rather than an action game (eg. rFactor, LFS, GTR2, etc.).

    I used to (and still do, to some extent) play these simulators and I do believe they have improved my real-world driving. Perhaps not so much the actual physical coordination, but general theory and above all my concentration.

    I can see that it would depend a great deal upon the mind-set that you approached the simulator from, but if the intent is to practice for real-world driving there can be a significant benefit.

    For instance, how many people know the correct way to react to oversteer/understeer situations and how the required response differs between front-wheel-drive and rear-wheel-drive.

    I understand that was not really the particular aim of the study, but that being the case, what is the difference between an action racing game and, say, Sonic the Hedgehog. Perhaps they ought to try the study simply showing clips of car-chase scenes and other action-scenes and compare the results.

  7. Tim Bates

    Yes, yes....

    And fighting games make people start brawls.

    Games with guns encourage massacres.

    It's all bullcrap. I am quite a fan of the GTA series of games. In the rush to get places in these games, I often spend 75-90% of the time on the wrong side of the road. Yet when I stand up, walk out my door and get into my real life car, I drive on the correct side of the road at less than the speed limit.

    You see, teh major thing is that some people can tell the difference between computer generated fun and the readl world.

  8. Matt


    too many researchers not enough real things to research, all of the little parasites are just looking for the next bull---- news title and a few equally s--t press conferences.

    Can't wait for the court cases "I drove like a retard and ran people over coz I played a game" says retarded chav so claims diminished responsibility.


    These pointless prats should jump into an ocean and do the world a favour.

    Plus if a game doesn't excite you it's a pretty rubbish game ¬.¬ garghh why don't they do some real research. Tshhh

  9. Andy

    Ah no, quite the opposite

    With me, it's the other way round. I've totalled about a dozen

    Maclaren F1s on the streets of london to try to get some insight

    and a better lap record when playing PGR4. However, I've not

    noticed any improvement in my gaming skills, no matter how

    many cars I crash in real life.

  10. JamesH

    Motorsport doesn't cause speed

    Have to disagree with the poster re: Motorsport causing speeding. I actually participate in motorsport (used to kart, now car race) and it is noticeable how much more calmly I drive after events, for a few weeks. Then speed starts to drift up until the next event. You see, I get my speed fix from the races themselves. And given the number of race crashes I have had (not all my fault I hasten to add), I am intently aware how much worse a road crash can be than a track crash. For a start, race tracks dont have cars coming the other way, or ditches at the side of the track, and they all have marshalls, doctors and ambulances a few seconds away.

    As to the report, nice to see so many experts commentators adding their 2 cents worth. I presume they are all scientists working in the field?

  11. Colin Jackson

    Don't dismiss it out of hand

    Hmm, have to agree it does change the way I drive, whether for good or ill. I definitely find myself taking the racing line after playing Live For Speed (simulator-ish) and over-accelerating. I've even found myself trying to catch a tow when when overtaking. I don't suppose the effect lasts long, but I avoid playing immediately before driving now, and I'm no boy racer. Any neuro-linguistic programming expert will tell you that that kind of re-inforcement of responses that can be applied in the real world will have a real effect, albeit a temporary one. It's not going to make anybody go out and shoot anybody just because they spent a couple of hours playing an FPS, but I wouldn't be entirely suprised that it can modify subtle behaviour.

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