Game, set, smash
Addicts’ bravado makes them a menace on the roads, writes Mark Hinchliffe
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.