It has been recently reported that, although gamers that frequently play driving games are more likely to pass their driving test first time around, they are more likely to be involved in an accident within their first year on the road.

The research comes courtesy of Privilege car insurance who surveyed 1,419 drivers between 18-50. Very interestingly, their findings included the following:

  • 73% of those that regularly played video games (including driving games) passed their driving tests the first time around.
  • That the average rate for passing your driving test on your first attempt is 15% less than the above findings.
  • 77% of these gamers also admitted to having an accident in the first year after passing their test.
  • Around 17% of those questioned who were aged 18-24 said that they drew confidence before their driving test from playing popular driving games.

So, how do driving games affect the way we drive?

The research suggests that it all boils down to increased confidence. Simulated driving experiences like the hazard perception section you will see in your theory test are there to make you more aware of the road and what dangers are around you and increase your reaction time when it comes to potential hazards.

This works great to improve a new driver’s highway awareness and in turn their confidence, but this research suggests that popular driving games like Grand Tourismo, Grand Theft Auto and Forza Motorsport could be instilling potential drivers with too much confidence behind the wheel – which of course can lead to mistakes.

The survey was conducted to look at current learner driver trends. The research also revealed that 53% of men found proper test preparation gave them pre-test confidence compared to 63% of women who found they benefitted from doing their highway-homework.

However, around 52% of men are more likely to pass their driving test on the first time compared to 42% of women. However, more men (24%) reported an accident in the first year than women (18%).

So it seems that although developed confidence seems to aid drivers in the initial test that it’s a mixed blessing and driving simulation games could be responsible for new drivers not fully grasping the consequences of real-life risk taking.

What do you think of these reports? Should driving games have more realistic consequences when players crash or make risky manoeuvres? Or should these types of games have a higher age limit?