Are gamers really better drivers? New survey finally reveals answer

Jet Sanchez
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New research from Auto Trader reveals a surprising link between playing video games and better driving skills. 

According to the study, individuals who play driving video games are significantly less likely to accumulate penalty points on their driving licences. Specifically, only 15 per cent of gamers reported having penalty points, compared to a higher 28 per cent of non-gamers.

Gamers behind the wheel

Sim racing

The survey also highlighted a remarkable difference in self-assessed driving skills between gamers and non-gamers. 

An impressive 41 per cent of gamers rated their driving skills as 'excellent', in stark contrast to just 13 per cent of non-gamers who felt the same about their abilities. 

This confidence might stem from the purported skills honed through regular gaming, such as improved reaction times, hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness.

Real-world benefits of virtual driving

The correlation between virtual driving experiences and real-world driving competence is further supported by insights from Reddit users. 

Many believe that playing video games enhances transferable skills beneficial for driving. Auto Trader's findings bolster this claim, suggesting that the practice behind the virtual wheel can translate into safer driving practices on actual roads.

Penalty points

The data on penalty points provides a clear picture of the differences in driving behaviours between gamers and non-gamers. While 15 per cent of gamers have been penalised, a significant 28 per cent of non-gamers admitted to having penalty points. 

This indicates that gamers might be engaging in safer driving practices, reducing their chances of incurring penalties.

Areas for improvement

Despite their confidence and better track record, gamers are not entirely free from risky behaviours. 

The survey uncovered that gamers are more likely to be penalised for using a mobile phone while driving, with one in four admitting to this infraction, compared to just 4 per cent of non-gamers.

Interestingly, speeding is a more prevalent issue among non-gamers, with 85 per cent of them admitting to receiving penalty points for speeding, whereas 71 per cent of gamers have been caught for the same offence.

Insights on gaming and driving

Sim racing arcade

The research offers intriguing insights into the potential benefits of playing driving video games like Gran Turismo 7 and the upcoming Grand Theft Auto 6.

Gamers not only feel more confident in their driving abilities but also seem to engage in safer driving practices, resulting in fewer penalty points.

Erin Baker, Editorial Director at Auto Trader, commented on the findings: “Our survey shows some light correlation between regular car-based gaming and safer driving habits – adding real-life examples to the studies out there which show video games can boost the cognitive skills that improve your driving. 

"All drivers should adhere to safety regulations while driving, whether they play video games often or not, and the new technology available when you lease new models can certainly help you avoid speeding penalisation. 

"Newer car models, which come equipped with advanced safety features, traffic updates, map routes and entertainment technologies, can also reduce the temptation to engage with mobile devices while driving.”

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