Game, set, smash

Ad­dicts’ bravado makes them a men­ace on the roads, writes Mark Hinchliffe

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Onroad -

COM­PUTER geeks who play driv­ing games are more likely to crash when they swap the vir­tual world for real roads. Nearly half the gamers who play sim­u­la­tions such as Need for Speed and Gran Turismo are likely to take risks on the road, in­clud­ing speed­ing and run­ning red lights.

More hours on com­put­ers can also mean more chance of a crash.

The re­sults, which come from a Bri­tish study, have al­ready trig­gered a wor­ried re­sponse from Aus­tralian safety cam­paigner Rus­sell White.

The man who be­gan the Fa­tal­ity

‘‘ They be­lieve any prob­lem can be solved by re­set­ting their game

Free Pro­gram in Aus­tralia agrees that vir­tual driv­ing games give peo­ple more ‘‘bravado’’ when they are in a real car.

How­ever, White says driv­ing games should not be con­fused with ed­u­ca­tional com­puter sim­u­la­tors, which are driver train­ing tools that teach mo­torists to be aware of the dan­gers on the roads.

The wor­ry­ing sur­vey re­sults come from a study in Bri­tain of 2000 mo­torists, com­mis­sioned by the Con­ti­nen­tal tyre com­pany.

The Bri­tish study found com­puter gamers are more likely to speed, suf­fer from road rage, be stopped by po­lice and claim on their car in­surance.

They are also con­sid­ered ‘‘over­con­fi­dent’’ by non-gamers and a po­ten­tial risk be­cause they might re­peat their vir­tual driv­ing ap- proach in the real world.

Con­ti­nen­tal Tyres spokesman Tim Bai­ley says com­puter game play­ers re­quire good con­cen­tra­tion and im­proved re­ac­tion times.

‘‘How­ever, they can take more risks than non-gam­ing driv­ers, pos­si­bly due to the lack of real con­se­quence in games,’’ he says. ‘‘They be­lieve that any prob­lem can be solved by re­set­ting their game.’’

Gamers also ap­pear to be worse park­ers, hav­ing crashed into more sta­tion­ary ob­jects, and are twice as likely to scare oth­ers with their an­tics on the road.

The longer they spend on games such as Grand Theft Auto and For­mula 1 each week, the worse they are be­hind the wheel.

The Euro­pean re­search re­veals those who play for more than eight hours a week have been in three times as many ac­ci­dents as some­one who plays for less an hour.

How­ever, the good news for com­puter geeks is non-gamers take an av­er­age of one more at­tempt at pass­ing their driver’s test and have caused twice as many prangs to their ve­hi­cle in the past year.

Speed lovers: Play­ers of games such as

are more likely to crash while driv­ing in re­al­ity.

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