Could Video Games Improve Driving Skills?

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Driving in the Philippines--specifically in Metro Manila--requires utmost attention and long lasting patience. A driver needs to be aware of its surroundings at all times and be on the lookout for motorcycles that are running at the right-hand side of the car, a vehicle that abruptly switches lanes, or a pedestrian that suddenly decides to cross the street. Overall, a driver has to have quick motor skills to see and to react to different traffic scenarios while he/she is on the road.

Gran Turismo Sport ©Patrick Everett Tadeo for CARMUDI PHILIPPINES

How can you improve such skills? Well, one option is to follow the famous "practice makes perfect" mantra. On the other hand, you can start playing video games--such as Gran Turismo Sport. Yes, video games can actually improve driving skills; and science can support that claim.

A study conducted by New York University Shanghai states that playing video games can boost the individual's ability to coordinate incoming visual information with their motor control.

Motor skills is considered as one of the critical and important factor in real-world driving. The said research was published in the journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The lead author of the study, Li Li, said that their research showed "that playing easily accessible action video games for as little as five hours can be a cost-effective tool to help improve essential visuomotor-control skills used for driving." Li and her team used a driving simulator and invited two groups of participants (gamers and non-gamers) to be part of the study. The result showed that gamers have better precision in "keeping to their lane, and showed less deviation in the face of increasing headwinds" as compared to non-gamers.

Moreover, the research let non-gamers to play Mario Kart, a racing video game, using a steering-wheel controller. According to the study, non-gamers who played Mario Kart showed improvement on their visuomotor control skills after five hours of playing. It seems that video games can really help improve driving skills.

How about you? Do you think that video games can help improve driving skills? If you ask Luis Gono--a 13-year-old racer who participated in the Toyota Vios Cup, Formula V1 Cup, among others—playing video games can indeed help improve your driving skills. Gono added that part of his pre-race preparation is playing video games like Gran Turismo. Playing video games has a positive effect after all.

Gran Turismo Sport ©Patrick Everett Tadeo for CARMUDI PHILIPPINES

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