In a study that’s bound to shock fans of driving games worldwide, Continental Tyres has found that motorists who routinely sit on the sofa to tear around a virtual track are actually worse at driving than those who don’t.

Continental Tyres quizzed 2,000 motorists between the ages of 17 and 39, 1,000 of whom were self-confessed driving game fans. As might be expected, the gamers reckoned that the skills picked on up-screen were equally applicable to the road, where quicker reaction times, better anticipation of events and a greater understanding of car dynamics meant better driving.

The study, however, also found that gamers tended to speed more often in real life and make more insurance claims than non-gamers — the conclusion being that the inconsequential nature of virtual driving can lead to inability to realise the risks of taking chances when drying a real car.

Peter Rodger, chief examiner for the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “I am not surprised that regular gamers find themselves making the same decisions and judgements when driving for real as they do when in the virtual world. The issue is that when actually driving, our actions lead to ‘real’ results, and mistakes have very real consequences.”

Interestingly, the study did reveal that driving games do evidently bestow some benefits upon drivers in the real world. Non-gamers require at least one more attempt than gamers when it comes to passing their driving test, and are more prone to ‘prangs’. That said, these two figures aren’t the most statistically significant — as you can see below.

It’s always difficult to reach firm conclusions from studies of this nature, of course, but Continental Tyres’ ‘safety expert’ Time Bailey did state that they would be working more with IAM to independently assess driving skills of gamers. Until we find out the results of that bit of research though, here’s a breakdown of the findings from this first study:

[Continental Tyres]