Video gamers think they’re the best drivers

  • 33% of Brits think driving games make people more dangerous on real roads, with 54% calling for the makers to put more emphasis on the consequences of dangerous driving
  • Daily driving gamers gave themselves the highest rating of 8.7/10 for skills, despite having the worst record for speeding and accidents
  • 44% of the UK thinks drivers should start their lessons in simulators before being allowed on the road
  • The average UK motorist scored themselves 7.84/10 when asked to rank their driving skills
  • North East ranked themselves as the best drivers (8.31), with Northern Ireland ranking the lowest (7.65)

carwow surveyed British motorists in a bid to determine how playing driving games affected driver confidence and their rate of car accidents and speeding offences compared to their non-playing counterparts.

58% of British drivers say they have played driving games, with 8% playing between two and three times a week, and 4% who play every day – this hardcore gaming group ranked themselves 8.7/10 for driving skills, a point higher than the average for all drivers of 7.84/10, despite their driving records contradicting this confidence.

As part of the study, motorists were asked how many car accidents they’d had and if they’d ever been caught speeding, with 58% revealing they’d had at least one accident since passing their test and a further 44% admitting they were the recipient of at least one speeding ticket.

When it comes to a need for speed, 26% of everyday gamers admitted to having 2 or more speeding convictions, compared to 19% of all drivers, and an even lower 17% of those who didn’t play driving games at all. Everyday gamers also peaked in terms of accidents, with 37% admitting to 2 accidents or more and the accident rate per driver of 1.3 compared to the average of 0.6 across all drivers.

From a more positive point of view, 41% of Brits agreed that playing driving video games could improve skills like reaction times, with 44% going as far as to suggest learners should start their lessons in simulators before being allowed on the road.

When quizzed on the responsibilities video game companies need to take, 59% agreed driving games create unrealistic expectations of being a motorist, with 55% also stating they believe games like Forza and Need for Speed should put more emphasis on the dangers of driving, like speeding and awareness of road signs.

More than one in five (22%) drivers confessed that they’d tried out a move from a driving video game in their car in real life on at least one occasion.

Commenting on the data collected, Mat Watson, motoring expert at carwow, said:

“Whilst this is obviously a limited snapshot of the UK as a whole, it does showcase some extremely interesting insights. Those who are playing video games every day rate their abilities higher than those with a lower play rate, but they also emerged as those with the highest number of speeding tickets and were amongst the top in terms of accident frequency. At the very least this research could indicate that heavy players of driving-based video games are overconfident in terms of their motoring skills, with a propensity to put their foot down on the open road.

“One thing was very clear when it came to the general feedback of the impact that driving video games have on motorists, there is a belief that they do impact your driving in real life, whether for better or worse and makers of popular driving games need to consider their responsibility for games targeted at younger people to stop them picking up bad habits before they even get behind their first real wheel.”