March 4, 2007

"A quarter of drivers even said they imagine they are in a driving simulation game while driving for real."

Oh, no! And:
34% of the 1,000 young drivers questioned think computer games can improve real-life driving ability, with two in five reckoning the games can help their reflexes.

So that's why people are driving like that! Insane!


Mark the Pundit said...

Well, thanks to Flight Simulator, I am fully prepared to fly a 747 if need be... :-)

Josh said...

mark the pundit: If it works in Snakes on a Plane, it must be true!

Cat said...

Dang Mark, you beat me to it.

Is this why speeding young male drivers like to drive right up to my bumper before they pass me (event though they can pass at any time on either side). I always thought that creating the danger of nearly hitting someone while pretending to be in a race was inspired by some "digital derby."

Mark the Pundit said...



I wonder if Ann ever thinks to herself, I'm tired of these mother-f***ing comments in this mother-f***ing blog!

MadisonMan said...

I wonder how realistic the sliding on ice factor is in those games?

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Theo Boehm said...

It's simulators. Damn!

I'd just thought everyone in the country had finally managed to drive around Massachusetts and picked up some of the local color.

When I moved to Boston from California 20-odd years ago, I was reduced to terrorized, white-knuckle driving.  This book helped, so I now go 85 mph following the car ahead by 6 inches on Rt. 128 like everybody else.

A recent road trip to Nashville, along with a yearly visit to California, has taught me that we all must drive like this or be run off the road by meth-crazed truckers doing 85 on I-80 in an ice storm.

There go my plans to RV around the country.

I'm just going to hide under the bed.

reality check said...

Computer games and simulations help with real world flying skills, what is wrong with thinking they can help with real world driving.

Games and simulations are used to help improve typing speed. Teach and improve piano. Both real world physical skills.

What amazes me is that many people thinking that having teachers that refuse to take a stand can somehow impart wisdom.

Gahrie said...

RE: Reality Check

"Will no one rid me of this turbulent troll?"

Joseph Hovsep said...

I always feel like I'm in a video game when driving down the FDR in Manhattan, especially at night.

reality check said...

Gahrie has twice now urged that someone kill me.

Ann, you are known by the company you keep. I ask you now to banninate Gahrie and urge other commenters to stop with the repellent hate speech.

Unless you condone this sort of thing.

P. Froward said...

My experience with video games and driving has been that they're good for the reflexes, but they're very bad for maintaining your awareness that a collision at high speed may have permanent effects.

On the other hand, aggressive young males never do have a real clear sense of consequences, games or no games. That's why being young and male is so cool.

R.C. - "Known for the company she keeps"? Now dear, don't worry. Nobody blames her for you.

Gahrie said...

Just as I thought...absolutely no sense of irony or homor what so ever.

Now I knw why it uses a pen name, and links to an empty blog...has to be a Democratic operative.


Not enough wit or humor for Carville.

Ann Althouse said...

Reality Check, I have no way to ban commenters, otherwise I'd have banned you long ago, you pathetic little man.

reality check said...

Someone urges death, any sort of death upon another commenter, and I am the unscrupulous one, and a pathetic little man?

And you're the last remaining liberal and a feminist and civil rights vanguard?

Wow, is this Althouse? Sounds an awful lot like Pandagon to me.

reality check said...

Anyway Gahrie, go ahead, Ann says your need to use the n word, the c word, the fgt word are a-okay with her, along with your death threats.

Strange world indeed.

reality check said...

Ann Coulter, come on, it was a joke!

Angry White Gahrie, come on, it was a joke!

Theo Boehm said...

Oh dear.

Can't we at least have some meth-crazed trucker jokes?

Or at least a discussion of how we've gotten a common law national minimum speed of 85 mph?

Driving steadily in the center lane at 65 mph: Threat or menace?

Jeez! The only person I want anyone to rid me of is the guy in the SUV with the xenon lights on high following me so closely at 83 mph that I can see his fillings.

amn said...

"Turn into the skid" meant nothing to me until I played Grand Turismo on Playstation. I guess that puts me in the 34%.

Gahrie said...

Reality Check:

Take the hint...get lost.

(which was the intent of my Thomas Beckett reference by the way you humorless troll)

reality check said...

Huh? You didn't reference anything like "get lost." You referenced a famous invitation to murder!

Jebus, what you must teach your students!

Captain Ned said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Captain Ned said...

OK, this time I get it right.

I love driving sims; one day I'll get to drive the Nordschleife for real and see if all those hours in GPL (Grand Prix Legends) paid off.

Mellow-Drama said...

I admit that after playing Grand Theft Auto for about four hours straight one night, I then needed to drive two miles to pick up my sister from work, and on the way found myself idly considering ramming the car that pulled out right in front of me. Of course, I didn't do it...but I thought of it.

Maxine Weiss said...

Women drivers, you all know how I feel about 'em.

Beware of Women Drivers, especially the ones driving a stick shift.

Peace, Maxine

Joe said...

There is fairly good evidence that playing computer games does improve reflexes and the ability to think spacially.

As for driving, my oldest son played all the Need for Speed games. He just got his permit a few weeks ago and was a better driver than his older sister right away. On the third time out, he was a better driver than she was after a month.

Incidentally, simulators are used to teach flying as well. Like high end (serious) driving simulators, they are very effective.

As for the statement that started it all, I am highly skeptical. It sounds like something teenagers say just to irritate interviewers. (Yeah, I was a teenager once and surely wasn't the only one who did this.)

Gahrie said...

OK, last time Reality Check...there is such a thing as figurative language. Part of this is something called hyperbole.

Now, since I know neither your name or location, surely even a dimwit such as yourself could understand that I was using a historical reference (that frankly I'm surprised you got, I assume you googled it?) to express my disdain and disgust for you.

Further more, my use of this particular reference should have been enough to clearly convey that I was speaking figuratively, and did not literally wish someone to kill you.

All of that said, in the future I will be doing my level best to ignore you as the ignorant troll you are.

Revenant said...

Actually, I learned how to drive a stick shift playing "Hard Drivin'" in the arcade. It was a pretty accurate simulation.

Maxine Weiss said...

It's just not natural for a woman to maneuver a stick shift.

Don't ban commenters, ban Women Drivers !!!

Peace, Maxine

reality check said...

Uh, okay Gahrie, it's okay to incite a murder if you think your target is too stupid to realize what you are doing.

No need to sweat, I probably won't tell the San Bernardino School Board about your curious manner of communication with people that disagree with you.

You may wish to lay low for awhile, or delete your comments.

Gahrie said...


I apologise for feeding the troll.

Robert said...

Prof. Althouse -

You can ban a commenter by simply asking them to refrain from commenting anymore on your blog. Sure, you can't actually enforce it, but it works pretty well; about 90% of the people you might want to ban will simply shrug, pick up their marbles, and go elsewhere to play. The remaining 10% will forfeit any remaining sympathy they have in the community, and will often give up shortly thereafter.

Ron said...

The worst part of GTA isn't the wacky driving -- it's the belief that one's personal economy should consist of beating up pedestrians with a baseball bat and taking their coin!

XWL said...

I'm pretty sure at least 37% of young people when surveyed, like to mess with the surveyors and give the answer they expect would cause the most shock.

(and I derived my results about as scientifically as the linked survey)

But, as to the point about simulated driving effecting real driving positively.

That's true to some extent. Playing a game that aims for realistic physics like the Gran Turismo series, does lead to an appreciation of certain facts about car handling at the limits of performance that would be very expensive to learn using the real thing.

I know I've applied video game lessons to real world driving while traversing the desert in my Subaru (and the choice of said Subaru was influenced some by Gran Turismo, also).

Here in Santa Monica, some places, like this one, use driving simulators to help seniors self-assess their ability to continue driving.

(Too bad this gentleman didn't avail himself of the service)

Revenant said...

No need to sweat, I probably won't tell the San Bernardino School Board about your curious manner of communication with people that disagree with you.

That's a phone call I'd love to listen in on.

"Hello, San Bernadino School Board? Yes, I'd like to make a complaint. One of your employees... well, he... oh, I can't go on, sob.... sniffle, well, you see... he... paraphrased Henry II at me! In public, no less! And now I fear for my life! Hello? Are you still there?"

Theo Boehm said...

San Bernardino School Board

San Bernardino!??  What's THAT all about?

My father was a California Highway Patrolman, so we got stuck in San Bernardino for an unfortunately long stretch of my childhood when he was assigned there.  Thank God we finally wound up in Santa Barbara.

Sorry if there is anybody who reads this blog from San Bernardino, but what a pit!

It's a remarkably ugly medium-sized city that anchors the eastern end of the the Great LA Mess, just before more-or-less serious desert begins.  It's claim to fame is that one of the two original McDonald's was located there, at 14th and E, as I recall.  It also had some of the worst smog on the planet.

Think Worcester, Mass with palm trees and New Jersey air.  Think American Graffiti.

The place has declined, if possible, since I lived there.  The thing that sticks in my mind is the current low single-digit level of college graduates, down from the mid-20% range when I was a kid.  The middle-class who could has long since fled.

Many people have a fond regard for their home town.  Sorry to say I'm not among them.

Mellow-Drama said...

Well, we can argue about the pros and cons of GTA; my point was simply that "driving" recklessly for hours while playing GTA influenced my thoughts at least, if not my driving.

On the other hand, I do believe that video-game playing does enhance hand-eye coordination, which is also a useful talent when driving.

Fen said...

Reality Check, I have no way to ban commenters, otherwise I'd have banned you long ago, you pathetic little man.

Heh. I should code a good "ignore" utility for blogger. I could make a fortune...or at least enough to send the trolls to therapy. "Free" heatlh care may not be such a bad idea.

Fen said...

md: maybe. I used to play alot of CTF online. Offense mostly. I found that I had to "turn it off" when driving in RL. Took too many risks. Now I drive like an old man.

Gahrie said...

The original McDonalds thank you very much. And we are pretty much the birthplace of the fast food resteraunt, and many of the current chains.

By the way, the North end of San bernardino is a pretty nice place to live.

Theo Boehm said...

Wow! Never thought I'd find San Bernardino talk on Althouse, not to mention one of the regulars who lives there. Gahrie, you've got a very good blog, and I'm adding it to my bookmarks.

(Also, I should have written, "Its claim to fame...," not "It's." I really hate that when other people do it.)

It's true. Valencia Ave. and environs is a tolerable area, not to mention some parts northwest of the city--Lytle Creek springs to mind. San Berdoo also is a good choice if you have to commute to select parts of LA, as house prices are really cheap there compared to the rest of La-La Land. It's only 60 miles or so to LA Civic Center, and you can get a comparable house for $150K cheaper than, say, the Valley. You will also get plenty of practice driving.

For me, I'm content with Concord, Massachusetts. San Bernardino may have McDonalds, but we have the North Bridge, the Old Manse, Wayside House, etc.

Of course, it remains an open question whether the North Bridge or McDonalds is ultimately more meaningful. I know from the international visitors to my company that everyone knows McDonalds, and literally no visitor from abroad has ever heard of the North Bridge.

Wade_Garrett said...

Is there a parking simulator that we could get the UW students to use? In my neighborhood, parking is a joke! Cars are left at 30-degree angles to the curb, cars are parked on facing into traffic (on the wrong directional side of the street), cars are parked three feet away from the curb so as to avoid curbside puddles of water, cars are parked several feet apart, resulting in 2 or 3 fewer parking spaces per block . . . its awesome.

SGT Ted said...

"A quarter of drivers even said they imagine they are in a driving simulation game while driving for real."

That has been my assessment of young drivers in the Northern California area, based on what I have observed (no turn signals, driving like they are on a speed track) as well as about one high speed street racing crash and fatality per week in the Sacramento area. While hand/eye coordination can be improved by video games, bad mental habits can be reenforced as well.

Wurly said...

It's not the driving simulators, it is, and always will be, gabbing on a cell phone while driving.

Maxine Weiss said...

High crime rate--too many Mexicans in San Bernardino County.

Orange County--much better for Whites---safer.

Peace, Maxine

Patrick said...

San Bernardino County -- the Meth capital of the nation, and the biggest county in the world! Plus, given the white supremacists in the county it's not safe for of the various races.

But then again, it's a little over an hour away from just about anything a person can think of doing. Especially today. There's good skiing about 7000 feet up the mountain behind the city, and it's warm enough to go to the beach and get a good tan if a person wanted to drive the other direction for a bit.

Few places have that sort of quality.

Maxine Weiss said...

Some of the Whites are rednecks, but that's only because they feel the need to assert themselves whilst being bombarded by Mexicans.

Lots of racial stuff going on.

Good times.

Peace, Maxine

Patrick said...

Bombarded? Well, this white guy doesn't feel bombarded. Though maybe it's because I like the culture and the people. It's much better than the lily white, stuffy, always competing in every possible way, mcmansion loving, soul-leeching, Orange County. I feel much more bombarded in Irvine or Fullerton where artificial people live artificial lives and compare their artificiality with each other, thinking it matters.

Newport Beach is nice, though, I'll give you that.

Though, having also lived in Santa Barbara, that's really where it's done right.

Plus, with all the mountain driving right at hand for practice, San Bernardino drivers don't need video games. Just drive up and down for a few weeks and you become a very sharp, aware driver.

Parker Smith said...

The heck with world peace...

Visualize Using Your Turn Signal!

Stuart said...

Well, driving games can help them drive better.

Not by teaching them how to drive in the physical sense, how to use turn signals, and how not to be an ass on the road.

But by teaching them to process visual information (other cars, pedestrians, etc) rapidly and providing incentives for getting the analysis right - those skills are useful for good driving.

If someone on the road with me can be either more or less able to rapidly and accurately process the near-term movements of a barely-glimpsed moving object (like me or my car) due to playing video games, I'm all for the "more".

Most of the stupid driving tricks I see around me are caused by obliviousness or sheer incompetence - aggressive driving like in cat's comment is more a matter of youth in general, or of temperament, than of video games. I assure you it was common when I learned to drive, back when the most advanced driving game I could think of was Spy Hunter or Grand Prix.

(A real, super-realistic simulator could probably teach actual directly-applicable driving techniques, but that's not what the respondents are talking about, I wager.)