Video Games Can Improve Your Driving Skills

Don’t talk yourself out of buying that Ms. Pac-Man cocktail table for sale – splurge and enjoy. Why? Because it turns out that playing video games isn’t a time-wasting activity like many would have you believe. In fact, researchers are finding new benefits of video gaming all the time. The latest study shows that playing certain types of games can help gamers improve driving abilities. Gaming can keep you safer on the roadways – that’s a definite plus.

The Study’s Findings

Researchers at New York University Shanghai and the University of Hong Kong conducted a study with participants who had no prior experience playing action video games. They separated the players into two groups. The first group spent 10 one-hour sessions learning to play Mario Kart. The second group spent the same amount of time learning to play Roller Coaster Tycoon III.

After all playing sessions were complete, the groups were tested virtually. The first test involved driving a vehicle down the center of a road with an oncoming, disruptive crosswind. The second test involved using a joystick to keep a floating dot centered.

The participants who were trained in Mario Kart performed significantly better than the second group in both tests. The second group showed no improvement in their visuomotor skills.

Of course, the findings are based on virtual tests and not on actual vehicle performance on the roadway, but the facts are clear – action video games can improve your visualization and control in situations that are extremely similar to actual driving.

Video Games: Reap the Benefits When You Pace Yourself

This isn’t the first time video games have been linked to better performance when it comes to vision, reaction time and mental rotation. Video games can help the player make a fast decision in a real-life scenario. And new mobile games like Pokémon GO help encourage physical activity and social connections. Still, most researchers agree that too much screen time is more harmful than helpful. Limiting gaming to about 30 to 40 minutes a day is smart for both children and adults.

Have video games helped you develop real-world skills or enhanced your driving technique?