Insurance companies might soon be asking if you play car racing games on your computer.
People who play car racing video games may be more prone to drive recklessly and get into accidents, according to a study that adds to evidence that video games can influence the behavior of some players.
The study by German researchers published on Sunday examined the effect these games, featuring realistic driving environments with players often racing through city and suburban traffic, affect people who play them.
"Driving actions in these games often include competitive and reckless driving, speeding and crashing into other cars or pedestrians, or performing risky stunts with the vehicle. In short, most actions in racing games imply a very high risk of having an accident or severe crash in a highly realistic virtual road traffic environment," the researchers wrote.
The researchers first questioned 198 men and women. Those who played the games most often were more likely to report engaging in aggressive and risky driving and getting in auto accidents. Those who played these games less often reported driving more cautiously, the researchers said.
The researchers then studied 68 men and found those who played even one racing game took more risks afterward in traffic situations on a computer simulator than those who played another type of game.
Then the researchers had 83 men play either a racing game or another type of game, and found that those who played the racing game reported more thoughts and feelings associated with risk-taking than the others.
"Risk-acceptance is one of the most prominent and important factors in the discussion of the origin of accidents caused by young drivers," Joerg Kubitzki of the Allianz Center for Technology, who conducted the study along with researchers at Munich’s Ludwig-Maximilians University