Research Confirms That People Who Play Racing Video Games Are Worse Drivers

They *think* that they're better drivers, though

study video games worse drivers
Pictured: A driver developing bad habits
John Sting / Unsplash

If you have reason to believe your Uber driver is an avid MarioKart player, you might want to think twice before getting in the car.

According to a survey by Censuswide, individuals who regularly play racing video games such as Need for Speed and Forza have more accidents and speeding tickets than average drivers. In addition, more than a fifth of the 1,250 drivers surveyed admitted to having attempted moves from racing games in real life.

“Those drivers … are taking risks with their fellow road users lives,” said a representative from UK road safety organization Brake. “Any driver tempted to try a move from a video game when actually behind the wheel needs to know that in reality their actions can have serious consequences.”

While previous studies of the impact of video games on driving behavior were met with mixed results (a 2010 study found that fast-paced video games in general could actually speed up people’s reactions), current studies find that inexperienced drivers who play racing games may focus narrowly on what is in front of them in real road scenarios, ignoring road markings and peripheral hazards compared to other drivers.

The Censuswide survey also found that people who played driving games everyday rated their actual driving skills as 8.7 out of 10, compared to a 7.84 self-rating for the average driver.

“Most young men overestimate their ability because they suffer from a lethal mix of bravado and lack of experience,” said Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at road safety organization IAM RoadSmart. “If anyone thinks that driving in virtual reality can ever replace the real thing, then sadly, it will end badly in court or in hospital.”

Editor’s Note: RealClearLife, a news and lifestyle publisher, is now a part of InsideHook. Together, we’ll be covering current events, pop culture, sports, travel, health and the world. Subscribe here for our free daily newsletter.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.