Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Cheaper Car Insurance For Gamers

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the hand-eye-coordination dept.

Transportation 207

I know your first reaction is that this story is gonna be an ad, but SpuriousLogic's story is actually about insurers considering giving a discount to elderly gamers. The question is: does gaming improve mental agility and make you a safer driver? And if so, I'll have to add gaming to mowing the lawn for my weekly chores.

cancel ×

207 comments

Spelling Nazi Attack! (-1, Flamebait)

pm_rat_poison (1295589) | more than 5 years ago | (#25232519)

ad? As in advertisement? I'm pretty sure you mean add!
Spelling Nazi Strikes Again!!!

Re:Spelling Nazi Attack! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25232689)

No he meant ADD/ADHD. You know, that faux disorder also known as "too much sugar and not enough discipline..."

Re:Spelling Nazi Attack! (2, Informative)

Kentaree (1078787) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233081)

No, pretty sure he meant ad as in advertisement...

Re:Spelling Nazi Attack! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25233573)

You are as dumb as a nigger and as greedy as a kike.

It make sense to me (5, Funny)

yttrstein (891553) | more than 5 years ago | (#25232537)

...as elderly gamers probably spend very little time in their cars.

Re:It make sense to me (1, Insightful)

Bob-taro (996889) | more than 5 years ago | (#25232637)

...as elderly gamers probably spend very little time in their cars.

Mod parent up. I was going to try to post something funny, but I don't think I can top that.

Re:It make sense to me (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25232849)

Funny, since grampy started playing GTA4 he's spent more time in [stolen] cars!

Re:It make sense to me (2, Funny)

mmalove (919245) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233403)

Well, I'm already a gamer.

And this morning, I'm feeling kinda elderly. What the heck, sign me up!

not really (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 5 years ago | (#25232547)

You can't just say "gaming." Playing GTA or a racing games might improve your driving and first person shooters might improve your reaction time but puzzle games or solitaire won't do anything for you.

GTA? (-1, Redundant)

Chas (5144) | more than 5 years ago | (#25232583)

I'm not sure I'd be giving insurance breaks to someone who excels in a game about carjacking and that gives bonus points for spectacular wrecks.

=)

Re:GTA? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25232965)

I'm not sure I'd be giving insurance breaks to someone who excels in a game about carjacking and that gives bonus points for spectacular wrecks.

=)

Seriously? Bonus points? In GTA? Are you with the media?

Maybe you were thinking of Burnout?

Re:GTA? (1)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233283)

Well if you spectacular wreck includes a lot of hook casualties, you can count the money they drop as bonus points.

Re:not really (1)

AdrocK (107367) | more than 5 years ago | (#25232639)

Puzzle games won't help you with your mental agility? I would think they would at least a bit. Maybe they wouldn't do as much for reaction times as a racing game, but neither does a reading book, which has been proven to keep an aging mind sharp.

Re:not really (2, Interesting)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#25232645)

I've been playing WipEout HD a lot this week - I'm in the top 40 in the global rankings for some of the events, surely that entitles me to some kind of insurance discount!?

And as for GTA, I don't aim for the pedestrians like some people do, so that has to count for something :)

Avoiding accidents is rarely about reaction time. If you have to react to something in front of you, then you've already been making some bad decisions in the previous moments. Real life driving is not like a racing game (says the guy who was banned from driving for 3 months when he got caught at 114mph in March this year).

Re:not really (5, Funny)

Krinsath (1048838) | more than 5 years ago | (#25232837)

With apologies to Ron White:

"Real life driving is not like a racing game, and I'm quoting a judge on this one"

Re:not really (5, Insightful)

tom17 (659054) | more than 5 years ago | (#25232857)

I'm driving along a 40 limit road, at a cautious 30 when someone cluelessly drives into my path from a blind junction where they have no right of way. *I REACT* to this by slowing down and avoiding said stupid driver, thus making a non-situation of it. As I reacted, according to you, I had done something wrong or I wouldn't have had to. What bad decisions had I made previously? Except driving on the public roads in the first place, that is.

Likewise, I react to someone cutting into my lane too close by backing off a bit. What did I do wrong in this instance?

Just hypothetical questions :)

Tom...

Re:not really (3, Interesting)

Not_Wiggins (686627) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233089)

I'm driving along a 40 limit road, at a cautious 30 when someone cluelessly drives into my path from a blind junction where they have no right of way. *I REACT* to this by slowing down and avoiding said stupid driver, thus making a non-situation of it. As I reacted, according to you, I had done something wrong or I wouldn't have had to. What bad decisions had I made previously?

Well, for starters, unless there's reason to be driving under the speed limit (snow? rain?), I find it is generally dangerous in the U.S. to drive slower than the posted speed limit. Of course, this will vary by state (some states, few speed... others, you have to "keep up with traffic").

But generally, I've found that driving under the posted speed limit is more dangerous because people will come up on you from behind not expecting you to be a rolling roadblock.

Of course, as your reaction time slows (as one gets older) those drivers tend to slow down to allow themselves more time to react (as in the scenario you've described). But I think on the whole, driving this way creates more opportunities for accidents then it prevents. Right or wrong, driving more slowly is going to piss people off, and they'll tend to want to get around you. The more maneuvers going on around YOUR car (ie, people cutting you off because they are impatient with your speed), the more you'll likely get into accidents.

Ask yourself this: which happens more frequently? A driver pulls out into your lane and you t-bone him because you can't stop in time OR someone cuts you off because they're in a hurry (whether you're driving slowly or not).

I believe the latter happens more frequently and leads to more accidents... so any behavior that "encourages" it will naturally lead to more accidents.

Re:not really (5, Insightful)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233339)

I really don't understand all this crap from US posters about how you should drive at the speed limit, or even faster(!).

Take your reason, someone might be driving the speed limit and not notice "a rolling roadblock". What are they? Blind? When driving, you should always be aware of what cars are near by. And if you are driving along, and you are approaching a car, it is pretty damn obvious that you are going faster then them...

You therefore, take your foot of the accelerator and access the situation, and then decide whether it is safe to pass, or whatever.

Where I'm from learners have to have a big L displayed, and must drive a maximum of 80 kilometres per hour (or the speed limit, whichever is lower). But of course, because they are learners, they often drive slower then the speed limit, even if they don't have to.
It would be very rare for people to get upset at these learners, whether they are on a highway or a city street.

OK, that's one reason why someone might be driving slower, what if they don't know the area? What if they are looking for a house number? What if there are children around? Maybe their breaks don't work so well and they are going to the mechanic? Maybe they just think, "well it's a nice day, no rush to go to work/home, I'll take my time"?

And if some idiot is driving along and cuts that slower driver off, who is at fault? The idiot driving fast and cutting off the slower driver.

Actually, while on the topic of cars, I've often see idiots talking about how they tailgate other drivers because the other drivers drive too slow. Yeah, and you know who is rightfully to blame in the event of a rear ending? The idiot doing the tailgating.

You should always leave enough space between yourself and the car in front to stop safely. If you can't, you aren't driving safely.

Basically, you should be driving safely, and if that means slowing down, then yeah, there isn't a problem with that. (The only case where you can complain legitimately about someone driving too slow is if they are more then about 20 km/h below the speed limit on a highway.)

Re:not really (1)

jefu (53450) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233631)

Simple enough. There are those who want to drive fast, tailgate to get people away from them and so on. The reasons are not important, but typically they just figure that their time and choices are more important than anyone else's. And they'd like to be able to justify their decision to do so by making the fault lie squarely on the other guy. I have also noticed (as a passenger) that many aggressive drivers are frequently stressed and angry as they drive - so I wonder if this isn't some kind of positive feedback loop where the anger at others doing perfectly reasonable things gets turned back into self-justification so they have a right to get more angry and so on.

Me, I try to drive with traffic as much as possible, which in the US often means over the speed limit, but I try to be polite and not allow other drivers to get to me - even if they are aggressive tailgating bullies.

Re:not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25233797)

Agree in spades.

And if you are
A) In some kind of mad hurry to get somewhere RIGHT NOW
B) Unable to control your emotions because someone doesn't share your sense of urgency
C) Willing to risk lives by going around said 'obstacle' when it's not safe

then maybe you shouldn't be on the road...

Re:not really (2, Insightful)

evanbd (210358) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233867)

Generally, the safest speed to be going is more closely related to what other drivers are doing and what they expect you to be doing than it is to the number on the sign. In most of the US, the norm is to go at or slightly over the speed limit. Whether this is silly or not (I think it is) is entirely beside the point -- if everyone expects you to be going 60 in a 55 zone, and they're all going 60, it's probably safest to be going at about 60. Obviously things like curves, weather, traffic, etc can be more important concerns when deciding what the safest speed to drive is.

Re:not really (2, Insightful)

Miseph (979059) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233909)

And actually wanting to get somewhere isn't a valid reason to drive? I thought the entire purpose of cars and roads were to get people quickly from point A to point B. I think if most people wanted to sit in the car and not get anywhere, they'd not bother even starting the engine.

If you want to drive below the speed limit then that's fine, but you're just being an inconsiderate ass if you let traffic pile up behind you. Pull over and let the people behind you go at the pace they wish to drive.

There are a lot of perfectly valid reasons to drive below the speed limit, and there are also perfectly valid reasons not to. But you're either lying or stupid if you think you're some kind of saint for driving slower than everyone else and being the "victim" of people who just want to get where they're going as soon as they can. Either pull over or move to Vermont (where at least you'll fit right in), but stop bitching about people who don't want to cater to your fear of actually going.

Re:not really (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233961)

So, going 5mph on a busy street is acceptable? If you don't know where you're going, pull over and look at a map. If you're going slow, stay out of other people's way. Just because you want (or need) to go slow does not entitle you to create a blockage for everyone else who needs to use the same roads you do.

Yes, you are allowed to drive slow. If you need to do so for safety, that's understandable. But you should also realize that you're being a complete asshole doing so, and should drive during times that aren't as heavy with traffic if you can't keep up with the flow of traffic. It's the whole tragedy of the commons idea... it only takes one asshole driving like an idiot to create a traffic jam for everyone else.

Re:not really (2, Interesting)

jeschust (910560) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233977)

When you're in college, you learn how to pinch pennies. I live about 90 miles from my university, the whole trip going along a northish-southish interstate. About 4 years ago, the state raised the posted speed limit to 70 mph. I used to drive about 75, 80 on this stretch, until it rained heavily one night and I did 60 the whole way. I went up from about 28 miles to the gallon to around 32. When I started going 10 miles under the limit in favorable conditions, I got about 36-37. There is absolutely nothing illegal about going 60 on a 70. I've been doing this in a Honda Del Sol, one of the most diminutive cars on the road. So far I haven't been rear ended. Most drivers, especially truckers, see my rate and react accordingly. As long as I stay in the right lane, I'm not holding anyone up or harming traffic flow. And frankly, if you get pissed off for having to react to my slow moving vehicle, I'll get a rise out of your irritation and keep on doing what I'm doing. Especially if you're driving a huge SUV or a BMW.

Re:not really (3, Insightful)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233545)

"Right or wrong, driving more slowly is going to piss people off".
Ahh, this line betrays your true sentiment. If people can't avoid hitting you from behind when you are going 10 mph less than the speed limit, they don't belong on the road. It's not inherently dangerous to drive 30 in a 40 zone. The main danger is stupid folk getting pissed off and wanting to take it out on you.

Re:not really (1)

Not_Wiggins (686627) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233869)

The main danger is stupid folk getting pissed off and wanting to take it out on you.

You're absolutely correct that that is one potential source of dangerous driving!

But, whether or not the person behind you is angry about your driving doesn't change the reality of people generally wanting to drive at least at the speed limit.

It doesn't matter if someone is angry when he's behind someone who is driving 10 mph under the speed limit if most people (angry or not) are going to try to go around that person. My main point was that "going around" someone is more dangerous than driving slowly so you can avoid accidents that require you to have more reaction time.

Even driving 10mph under the speed limit doesn't guarantee that you're going to avoid an accident... someone could just as easily cut you off then slam on the brakes no matter what speed you're cruising.

In fact, irrespective of speed, you'll get more mileage out of ensuring proper following distance than out of driving under the limit (pun intended ;) ).

Re:not really (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233827)

Well, for starters, unless there's reason to be driving under the speed limit (snow? rain?), I find it is generally dangerous in the U.S. to drive slower than the posted speed limit.

Have you had any wrecks or tickets in the last ten years? I haven't, yet I often travel the hundred miles south to St Louis at a leisurely 50MPH, fifteen MPH below the posted top limit and 10 MPH above the posted bottom limit. I do this because gasoline is sky-high; I get 5-7 MPG better at 50 than at the 68 I set my cruise to when gas is cheaper.

If you're doing 80 and I'm doing 50 and you hit me, you're going to hit me from behind. The law, the insurance industry and common sense all agree on one thing - you are at fault.

Of course, as your reaction time slows (as one gets older) those drivers tend to slow down to allow themselves more time to react

Careful drivers of all ages follow the "two second rule"; one car length for every ten MPH following distance. If you're driving a utulity vehicle you should allow even more room, because your stopping distance is longer. My sedan has four very big disk brakes, and I can stop in little more than HALF the distance of a Ford Explorer. I have so far avoided two accidents I would have surely gotten into in my last car (it was an '88 Chevy sedan) thanks to those brakes. If I'm on the highway at 65 mph (posted limit) and you're 3 car lengths behind me in your Explorer and a deer bounds in front of me, there's a very good chance I'll avoid collision with the deer. You, on the other hand, are going to give me whiplash when you rear ends me with your way too big, way too carelessly driven vehicle.

What's your driving record? Mine's clean [knocks on wood]

Re:not really (0)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233407)

I said it wasn't about reaction time (as in jet fighter pilot reactions type thing). You can be reactive sure, but it's better to be proactive and plan ahead. If your reactions or sight are so bad that you don't even notice when a driver is too close in front of you, you shouldn't be driving.

When I was doing my advanced driver training earlier this year*, we were taught to look at cars on junctions ahead of us, to make sure they were "safe and settled" and the like. You can make sure that a driver has seen you, and if not then slow down. Sure, you can just ignore him and then react if he pulls out, but superfast reaction times are very limited as a driving safety skill. You often react better to something if you are expecting it anyway.

* yep, kind of stupid that I just passed it in January then was caught speeding (for the first time ever, after years of speeding and no points) a couple of months later - especially annoying since I'd been driving a lot more sensibly in populated areas, but I made a choice to go quickly on the motorway to go help out a friend who needed a lift (awww, well now I've learned just to let people suffer for their own poor planning!).

Re:not really (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#25234247)

I can tell that at least one moderator today is a complete dumbass of a driver..

Re:not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25233817)

I'm driving along a 40 limit road, at a cautious 30 when someone cluelessly drives into my path from a blind junction where they have no right of way. *I REACT* to this by slowing down and avoiding said stupid driver, thus making a non-situation of it. As I reacted, according to you, I had done something wrong or I wouldn't have had to. What bad decisions had I made previously?

The mistake you made was driving too slow.

1 - You were leaving a large gap in front that he thought he could fit in to. Leaving a smaller gap between you and the cars in front would have discouraged him from trying to jump in like that.

2 - The other driver saw how slow you were moving and didn't want to be stuck behind anybody who drives like such a timid little bitch.

Re:not really (1)

Toad-san (64810) | more than 5 years ago | (#25234213)

"I'm driving along a 40 limit road, at a cautious 30 when someone cluelessly drives into my path from a blind junction where they have no right of way. *I REACT* to this by slowing down and avoiding said stupid driver, thus making a non-situation of it."

Actually, when I was flying Warbirds (an online flight sim) (a lot!) ... I'd probably have done a fast high snap roll, dropped in on his six, and hammered his careless *ss with my 20mm ...

Oh wait ... damn, I'm not IN a FW190 am I? Bah bah bah ...

Toad
Virtual Fiter Pilut

Re:not really (1)

CasperIV (1013029) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233333)

Avoiding accidents is rarely about reaction time. If you have to react to something in front of you, then you've already been making some bad decisions in the previous moments. Real life driving is not like a racing game (says the guy who was banned from driving for 3 months when he got caught at 114mph in March this year).

That's not true at all. As someone who has commuted to work for years and participates in autoracing, I can tell you that reaction absolutely matters. Currently most of the traffic collisions we have on our roads are caused by people who are distracted and do not react in time to prevent themselves from fumbling into things. If people actually were paying attention and trained in the skill of driving, as opposed to just taught regulations, our road system would have far fewer problems.

People love to blame speed, visibility, surface conditions, etc, for their failures as a driver, but the physics behind your driving isn't what failed to keep the automobile under control. It was your lack of attention and ability.

PS: Stumbling along under the speed limit and obstructing traffic doesn't make you safer than the person passing everyone. It just makes it slightly easier for other drivers to dodge your mistakes. Likewise, driving fast doesn't make you more skilled.

Re:not really (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233627)

That's not true at all.

Not at all?

Currently most of the traffic collisions we have on our roads are caused by people who are distracted and do not react in time

You should not let yourself become 'distracted' while driving - it is literally the most dangerous thing that most people do.

If people actually were paying attention

If you are paying attention you won't need to react quickly, which is my whole point. Go do some 'advanced' or 'defensive' driving courses or speak to some police drivers if you don't agree with me. I spent a week earlier this year with a guy who has been a police driving instructor for 36 years, and I learned a lot from the experience.

and trained in the skill of driving.. People love to blame speed, visibility, surface conditions, etc, for their failures as a driver, but the physics behind your driving isn't what failed to keep the automobile under control. It was your lack of attention and ability.

I can safely say that I am a skilled driver compared to most people on public roads. You are right that it is driver error causing problems in all these cases. Speed too great for the circumstances. If the surface or, visibility are bad, then it is the driver's responsibility to reduce their speed. A more skilled driver may be better able to control skids, but the whole point is that if you are driving according to the conditions, you will not skid in the first place (excepting perhaps micro-climates but that isn't a very common occurence, and if you hit a patch of ice at 70mph on a bend, no amount of driving skill will save you from crashing).

I was not advocating driving under the speed limit at all, apart from in appropriate situations, such as there being a row of parked cars by the side of the road and you already having noticed that there are kids playing, that kind of thing. When we were doing our advanced driving the instructor was telling the other student to drive faster a lot of the time ;) The first corner I came to on a country road he told me to slow down, but after that it was fine. I learned to drive out in the country and he commented that I had a smoother driving style than the other student, which was strange because it's usually girls who have a smoother driving technique. Our instructor was driving up at 110mph on a country road where safe (and mentioned that they had to drive at up to 150mph on motorways when safe when they are doing their instructor training, etc) just in case you think I think being a good driver is all about driving slowly. It's not. Building up driving skill is great and all - but the fact is you shouldn't ever need to correct a skid outside of a racetrack, if you are driving appropriately.

If you find you get distracted often then you should probably keep a running commentary of things like mirror observations, then roadsigns, traffic and corners ahead of you etc. Apparently police drivers still do that out looud in pursuit situations to help them stay more focused, and I just naturally do it after my week of driver training (we had to speak all our observations during the advanced driving test - I still go through everything in my head, though I perhaps forgot a couple of things during my 3 month ban).

Re:not really (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233735)

When I said I learned to drive out in the country, I meant when I was first learning to drive, therefore I had a better driving style than someone who learned in a city - not that I only learned how to do high speed driving because of that course.. but I certainly felt more aware of my surroundings afterwards, and learned about looking for the 'limit point' on corners to tell how steep a curve is going to be.

It's amazing how you just don't notice roadsigns because you get so used to seeing them on a daily commute, and then you end up ignoring pretty much all the signs apart from speed limits and important junctions when travelling, etc. You can also keep an eye out for houses so you know there will be hidden entrances, etc (perhaps not such a problem in the US, but in Scotland there are little roads and houses all over the place).

Re:not really (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233643)

And as for GTA, I don't aim for the pedestrians like some people do, so that has to count for something :)

IF you want to beat that game, you'll spend time learning not to hit pedestrians. That's why I'd rather have a kid of mine play GTA instead of Crazy Taxi. You can't hit pedestrians in CT, but if you hit the in GTA, the cops chase you, thus delaying the ending of the game. Vice City was particularly bad about that with its "Let's race through the city with lots of drunk pedestrians!" mission.

Re:not really (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233957)

I don't remember that mission, though in San Andreas there was one where everyone was angry. I kept a save game slot just for that mission because it was fun to brawl :)

Perhaps that's why I avoid the pedestrians and other cars, but I think it's just more fun weaving around stuff, and I don't like beating up my nice shiny cars. Some people like to mangle pedestrians and just cause as much damage as possible even if that brings more cops round. Hell, even I very occasionally want to have a cop fight (though I think even then after getting over the novelty of it in the original GTA III, I only started fights in subsequent versions to steal tanks - I haven't even tried starting a big fight in GTA IV yet) - but yeah I get more of a kick out of driving as fast as possible (which means avoiding all obstacles), the missions, searching for items and evading the cops than I do from having all-out war.

Re:not really (2, Informative)

BlackSnake112 (912158) | more than 5 years ago | (#25232923)

Considering the article talks about a game where fish hide stuff and you have to find the matching items, they are talking about memory and not reaction times.

So if get your older friends one of those mind/memory games for their next birthday.

Re:not really (1)

kyofunikushimi (769712) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233563)

"...but puzzle games or solitaire won't do anything for you."

Puzzle games make you a better parallel parker?

Yes! (3, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#25232559)

All my years of FreeCell and Minesweeper will not have been in vain.

Re:Yes! (1)

PlatyPaul (690601) | more than 5 years ago | (#25232647)

I was thinking Carmageddon [wikipedia.org] , personally....

Now kids don't try this... (2, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233453)

I was thinking of this guy actually:

http://hamptonroads.com/2008/09/johnson-wins-edwards-hits-wall-purpose [hamptonroads.com]

Quote:
"I planned on hitting the wall, but I didn't plan on the wall slowing me down that much," Edwards said. "In video games, you can just run into the wall and run it wide open. That's what I did, but it didn't quite work out the same as the video game."

Probably NOT the same for younger drivers (1)

compumike (454538) | more than 5 years ago | (#25232571)

So this appears to be for older drivers (50+) only. I suspect we shouldn't jump to the same conclusions about younger drivers, because I'm not totally confident that Grand Theft Auto, or the Battlefield series will really make better drivers. Perhaps more aggressive ones, for better or worse. :-P

--
Hey code monkey... learn electronics! Powerful microcontroller kits for the digital generation. [nerdkits.com]

Re:Probably NOT the same for younger drivers (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25232725)

Two of my all time favorite games were Screamer (and its sequel) and Road Rash. I still play Road Rash once in a while, even though it came out over ten years ago. I can't get Screamer to play in Windows.

The last time I had my license renewed I wouldn't even have had to go to the DMV because of my lack of tickets or accidents. I went anyway, my eye doctor had turned me into a cyborg and I wanted to get the eyewear restrictions off the license. You will be assimilated!

I'm not sure if Road Rash made me into a better driver; you aren't penalized for running over pedestrians, but you are penalized for not beating up cops, and you're penalized for stopping for them.

Just saved a bunch of money .... (2, Funny)

Windows_NT (1353809) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233417)

*ring ring* Hey Dan?
Its Joe. I got some good news and bad news.
The bad news is i just smoked a pedestrian with your car, cuz i had a GTA flashback.
But the good news is a just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to Geico.

Re:Probably NOT the same for younger drivers (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233055)

Despite what people (and I'm using this word loosely) like Jack Thompson and Joseph Lieberman want you to think, there are no studies showing a causation between what type of game you're playing and a change in your behavior.

One of my favourite pastimes is racing games. And I haven't gotten a speeding ticket in ten years. I may be slightly more likely to follow the "ideal curve" within the lane instead of the track most drivers take, because I've been conditioned to unconsciously recognise where it is. But that only leads to slightly lower tire wear, my exiting curves slightly faster than other cars, and a lessened risk of spinning out of a curve -- it doesn't cause me to speed.

And after all my FPS playing, I wouldn't own a gun if you gave it to me. Guns are dangerous, and I can't just quaff a health potion after every ten times I've been shot. And if I met a Strogg, I would run away in my wet pants.

Re:Probably NOT the same for younger drivers (1)

s_p_oneil (795792) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233325)

Damn. I was hoping that year of playing Carmageddon would pay off.

Wrong question (3, Insightful)

Snowgen (586732) | more than 5 years ago | (#25232575)

The question is, does gaming improve mental agility and make you a safer driver.

That's the wrong question. A more correct question would be "Is there a correlation between gaming and driving ability?"

It could very well be the there is no causal relationship between the two, but rather they share a common cause. Perhaps those without sufficient mental acuity/coordination to drive also lack the "mad skillz" needed for gaming, and thus they don't find games to be enjoyable and therefore don't play.

Re:Wrong question (2, Interesting)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 5 years ago | (#25232705)

The question is, does gaming improve mental agility and make you a safer driver.

That's the wrong question. A more correct question would be "Is there a correlation between gaming and driving ability?"

It could very well be the there is no causal relationship between the two, but rather they share a common cause. Perhaps those without sufficient mental acuity/coordination to drive also lack the "mad skillz" needed for gaming, and thus they don't find games to be enjoyable and therefore don't play.

It may be the wrong question, but it's probably the one they're basing their ideas on. Or this is a games-company sponsored stunt to try to reinforce the popular but scientifically groundless notion that playing games in old age is somehow good for you.

I suppose though there could be a hundred other confounding factors like playing games being a marker of biological age, being around younger family, being the kind of person that is generall aware of the world around them, etc.

Re:Wrong question (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233019)

It may be the wrong question, but it's probably the one they're basing their ideas on.

I doubt it. Insurance companies don't care about causation, only correlation. They are in the business of gambling. They try to work out the probability of you having an accident is one in n, and then charge you a bit more than the cost of the payout divided by n. They don't care about individuals, because their business is splitting risk among large groups. If they can say that people in group A have a lower average chance of being involved in an accident, then they will give them lower premiums, even if there is no causal relationship between being in group A and having fewer accidents.

Re:Wrong question (1)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233153)

Yeah you're probably right. Though my money is still on it being a publicity stunt.

Re:Wrong question (1)

DerWulf (782458) | more than 5 years ago | (#25234013)

I know what you mean but I'd say they are actually in the business of NOT gambling. You gamble because you hope to be the one out of millions who get a payout. You run an insurance exactly opposite: odds are that you'll have to pay less then you take in.

Insurance costs are, for the average consumer, a great way to figure out risks and mitigating factors. The research done to determine how much the insurance company will charge for a certain policy is the best kind because they have a huge sample size and their motivation is entirely driven by self interest which happens to overlap with your self interest. If insurance premiums say "play more games to be a better driver" it's a pretty sure bet that this is actually the case.

Re:Wrong question (1)

thedonger (1317951) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233275)

This is at least a novel approach by the insurance companies, but the Mayo Clinic recommends physical exercise to sharpen your mental agility (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/memory-improvement/HA00085).

Personally, I would have people over a certain age re-take their driving test every few years.

Re:Wrong question (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233603)

Well video games ability correlates with surgical ability [sciencedaily.com] , so I wouldn't be too surprised.

Re:Wrong question (1)

Pyrophor (1255862) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233861)

I sharpened my driving skills playing Grand Theft Auto - Vice City.

Insinsite clod! (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25232577)

TFA says "over 50". Who are you calling "elderly", you young whippersnapper? I may be a geezer, but my parents are elderly. I bet I could drink you under the table, Taco! You're only as old as you can convince yourself you're not.

So easy an old man can do it (1)

ilovesymbian (1341639) | more than 5 years ago | (#25232581)

15 minutes will save his life (and that of others as well). So easy an old man can do it. GEICO!

Dude no joke.... (2, Informative)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 5 years ago | (#25232585)

My brother was in an accident maybe 5 years ago or so. He was in his jeep on a 2 way road. A car was coming towards him and the driver was drunk. Right at the last moment the car swerved into my brothers lane. My brother was able to react and turn hard enough to allow the car to hit the back side of his jeep instead of the drivers side.

He said his reaction time from playing video games was what helped him, and he really does believe that. I don't blame him nor do I doubt him. I always thought I had a higher reaction time as a result of video games, and I'm sure a study on this has been done to prove it.

Re:Dude no joke.... (2, Informative)

PlatyPaul (690601) | more than 5 years ago | (#25232667)

I always thought I had a higher reaction time as a result of video games [...]

So what you're saying is: you suck at gaming?

Re:Dude no joke.... (1)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 5 years ago | (#25232899)

It's 8:00 on a Thursday, and I'm not done drinking my tea....You get the idea. :-P

Re:Dude no joke.... (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233539)

It's 8:00 on a Thursday, and I'm not done drinking my tea....You get the idea. :-P

So gamers need caffeine in order to function properly. In that case, I think I'll need to raise the rates on all gamers that live more than 2 miles from a Starbucks.

Re:Dude no joke.... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233991)

I always thought I had a higher reaction time as a result of video games [...]

So what you're saying is: you suck at gaming?

Maybe he smokes pot when he games?

Re:Dude no joke.... (2, Insightful)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233955)

He said his reaction time from playing video games was what helped him, and he really does believe that.

So it wasn't the jolt of adrenaline, or the fact that he was becoming a more experienced driver, or the fact that he's of a particular astrological sign. It must be video games. That's the only explanation. If he believes that, then it it must be true.

Insurance discount (1)

JustKidding (591117) | more than 5 years ago | (#25232589)

So, you'll get an insurance discount for playing games, like, Grand Theft Auto? That makes sense...

Re:Insurance discount (1)

johnkzin (917611) | more than 5 years ago | (#25232981)

Yeah, because playing GTA would _never_ make you more likely to run over pedestrians on the sidewalk... nor jerk your car out into oncoming traffic at incredibly risky moments. Yeah, I say, put granny in front of GTA, and see how her driving skills change... then we'll see if it's worth giving her an insurance discount ;-)

Summary not wrong, but somewhat misleading (5, Informative)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 5 years ago | (#25232595)

I know it goes against the norm, but I actually read the article. It clearly states that the drivers in this program must play a very specific game designed to improve visual alertness. So if you thought that Allstate (the "insurers" in this article) was going to give discounts to WOW players, think again.

Re:Summary not wrong, but somewhat misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25232835)

They should give discounts for the greatest crash-avoidance game ever: Armagetron [slashdot.org] !

Re:Summary not wrong, but somewhat misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25232895)

So if you thought that Allstate (the "insurers" in this article) was going to give discounts to WOW players, think again.

SHIT!

*Hangs up phone.*

Re:Summary not wrong, but somewhat misleading (1)

visualight (468005) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233059)

It clearly states that the drivers in this program must play a very specific game designed to improve visual alertness.

I bet I know what game it is [roguesynapse.com] .

Re:Summary not wrong, but somewhat misleading (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233427)

The games' developer, San Francisco-based Posit Science, will track the total number of hours these drivers play. Then the group's accident rates will be compared to a control group of people who do not play the games.

I wonder how the 'control group' gets selected. I would hate to be part of the control group of old geezers who first opt-in into this program, and then open eagerly their video game packet -- only to find it's 10 hours of Matlock tv -- that I'm required to watch instead.

Health Insurance should do this too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25232699)

Heavy pron users should get discounts on Viagra as well, because ...well you know.

More time playing games = less time driving (5, Funny)

bonkeydcow (1186443) | more than 5 years ago | (#25232707)

You probably don't have a life, so you can drive less? World or Warcraft should give you an 80% discount on your car insurance, heck it could cover the monthly fee. I see synergy.

Re:More time playing games = less time driving (4, Funny)

DgtalPimp (1319239) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233889)

"State Farm how can I help you"?
"I just finished leveling my Destro lock"
"That's great sir. That qualifies you for a 5% discount on your annual rate, if your 6/8 T6 or higher we can adjust it to 10%, but you have to show a decent DPS AND join the State Farm guild".
"Do I have to be in the guild for the 5% discount"?
"No sir that's our standard no life, 'No life, No drive' discount"
"Yeah your right, send the guild invite and mark me down for 10%".

Depends... (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 5 years ago | (#25232747)

Depends on both the game and the gamer [sluggy.com]

practice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25232749)

I'm 25, and that's old in the gaming world (but only half to a third the age of the age group from TFA). I'll never forget the conference where Nintendo introduced Mario Cart Wii, and said, "This isn't your dad's mario cart from 15 years ago." Boy was that ever an eye opener for me!

Also, there are certain games/simulators which can be educational. For example, driving GTR Evolution using a good force-feedback steering wheel, along with your buddy Jack (Jim or Jose work too), can be quite educational -- especially with a few friends online doing the same thing. ^_^ Although we laughed hysterically, the game/simulator seriously reinforced the fact that we'd never be so dumb in real life. While trying to poke a little fun here, I guess I'm trying to say that there's a number of ways games could be used in increasing driving skills and awareness overall (like getting people to run a time in a simulator and then have them run another lap while trying to change songs on their iPod, talk on the phone, read the daily funnies, and put on makeup). It would be cool to see some incentive for simulated practice and skill sharpening.

Re:practice (2, Informative)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233279)

I'm 25, and that's old in the gaming world

I recently read that the average age of a gamer is 35 years old [theesa.com] . You've got a ways to go yet!

Re:practice (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233647)

I recently read that the average age of a gamer is 35 years old. You've got a ways to go yet!

Since video games have only recently entered the mainstream, I would estimate that number will stabilize somewhere near the average age of the general populace as time goes by. It will be skewed slightly below the median due to the number of 'indoctrinated' gamers that simply play less or quit playing due to their need to work for a living as they get older. (Or will we see it balanced out by retiree age gamers who pick up playing again?)

And while we may think games have been around for our entire lives, video games haven't had a timeline that is greater than the total lifespan of a human yet. IE: lets say the first mainstream start of video games was in 1970-1980, we won't see the gamer population reach its equilibrium until at least 2090. In 2100 is when I would expect the median age of gamers to be just slightly lower than the median age of the population.

HomeLife (1)

SevenHands (984677) | more than 5 years ago | (#25232783)

This, however does not apply to elderly gamers still living in their parent's basement!

Re:HomeLife (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25234163)

This, however does not apply to elderly gamers still living in their parent's basement

Most elderly gamers don't HAVE parents. Evil-X is five years younger than me and both her parents are dead, and I may be a geezer but I'm not elderly by any measure (I'll drink YOU under the table, kid!). Me, well, my parents are alive but I have my own basement.

It's a two story basement with the upper floor above ground.

Higher insurance rates for "Crazy Taxi?" (2, Insightful)

Trip6 (1184883) | more than 5 years ago | (#25232821)

Shouldn't they know WHICH game is being played?

Maybe not for Trackmania players (1)

glgraca (105308) | more than 5 years ago | (#25232885)

Since I started playing Trackmania, I've started trying to improve my time from home to work...

Not for everyone. (3, Interesting)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 5 years ago | (#25232943)

While I agree that gaming may help reflexes I disagree that it has an inherent benefit on driving. Driving demands good decision-making and experience. What does it help to have quick reactions if you make poor decisions or over-react?

I've known guys who played games extensively and were crap drivers. All that gaming didn't keep them from getting into accidents anyway. I doubt statistics would support the notion that the rise of gaming has had an positive impact on reducing accidents.

Then there's the video online where some dumb kid and his friends play Initial D in the arcade and then decide to go out for a spin in their car. It doesn't take to long before this kid wrecks his car. Young people are already delusional enough about their driving abilities they don't need anyone making it worse.

Older drivers, on the other hand, will ideally have commonsense and experience on their side. So for them, gaming may have a positive impact because they'll actually be able to put improved reflexes to good use.

Re:Not for everyone. (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233129)

It isn't just games. I find that if I've spent some time at the go-cart track with my kid that I have to take a "cool down" break before driving home, otherwise, I'm more aggressive and driving too fast. When it comes to racing games and go-carts, I'm a mean, competetive person (and usually I win). On the real streets, I'm actually a generally safe driver. The hard part is making the transition between from mean to safe without that cool-down period.

Layne

Re:Not for everyone. (2, Insightful)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233165)

Older drivers, on the other hand, will ideally have commonsense and experience on their side. So for them, gaming may have a positive impact because they'll actually be able to put improved reflexes to good use.

Wrong. People typically overestimate their abilities and "judge" (can't think of a better word) other people's abilities. It's human nature.

As for elderly being safer...let's see.

1. An elderly lady, who had crappy night vision, thought she would be okay enough to drive. She struck my grandfather and tossed him 25 feet through the air and killed him.

2. I live very close to a retirement community. Older drivers are a PITA. They constantly run stop signs, and if you have the gall (HORROR!) of using your horn to let them know that they almost hit you (coming the other direction), they toss the middle finger in your direction. Old women tend to be worse than old men in my experience.

So, no. Younger drivers may not have the experience, which does count for a lot, but being older does not mean you have common sense. Not in the least bit.

(This is why I believe there should be driving tests for older people to ensure that they still should be on the road. Good luck in getting that law passed though with the plethora of older people in the government.)

Re:Not for everyone. (2, Funny)

Onaga (1369777) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233177)

But we all know that space fighter video game experience [imdb.com] translates well into the real world

Not for everyone-curves. (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233439)

"While I agree that gaming may help reflexes I disagree that it has an inherent benefit on driving. "

Especially when dealing with curves.

Same morons that drive while on the phone (1)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233011)

These are the same aholes that think that texting or phoning while driving can be done safely.

So... (2, Funny)

ZarathustraDK (1291688) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233053)

Does Carmageddon count?

Carmageddon... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25233149)

and my rates went up!

QUICK! Someone Tell Jack Thompson! (1)

mandark1967 (630856) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233219)

He may wanna go out and get a copy of GTA for the insurance discount. I hear he's looking to save money after being disbarred.

There is a correlation... (3, Interesting)

jdrugo (449803) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233293)

There is a correlation between performance in visual tasks and the amount of time people have been playing action video games. The initial study [rochester.edu] has shown that action-video-game (AVG, e.g. Unreal Tournament, other ego-shooters) players perform significantly better in a range of visual attention tasks than non-AVG players. In later studies it has been shown that this increased performance is not observed for people who do play games that are not of the AVG-genre (e.g. The Sims), and also that 50h of game playing of AVG games is sufficient to observe a significant performance increase in visual tasks. Currently, the same lab is investigating whether this effect is also observed in the elderly, with positive initial results. For more information, just have a look at the lab's list of publications [rochester.edu] (disclaimer: I'm in the same department as that lab, though not member of that lab).

In relation to the article, they seem to recommend the people to play games of the non-AVG type. For this reason I have my doubts that these games will significantly improve performance in visual tasks. On the other hand, it might support other tasks that are required while driving, but that remains to be shown.

Re:There is a correlation... (1)

The Moof (859402) | more than 5 years ago | (#25234087)

It's worth noting that it works both ways. There's a study [arstechnica.com] that claims playing certain games causes an increase in risky/dangerous driving, which would make you an increased threat.

So while game may cause better hand-eye coordination and reaction times, they could also subconsciously make you more dangerous behind the wheel with your decision making and speed.

fine and dandy by me (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25233363)

hey, if it keeps grandpa from having an accident, let the actuaries go at it and find out how much they should save.

"Did you make it level 48 yet of BloodWars III, Willibur? No... but I saved a ton on my car insurance."

OK, I've watch too many (2, Funny)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233377)

bad Japanese monster movies.

I read the headline as "Cheaper Car Insurance For Gamera ".

I guess Godzilla and Mothra have to pay more.

Wait.... (2, Interesting)

CrazyTalk (662055) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233465)

So the are saying gamers don't drive as much, since they stay home playing games all the time, and therefore their insurance rates are cheaper?

Possible indicator of coordination... (4, Insightful)

whizbang77045 (1342005) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233661)

I'm 65, and have spinal arthritis. There are mornings when I get up, and everything is normal, and mornings when I'm not functional. The problem sometimes is making sure how functional I am before I try to do anything, especially operating machinery or driving. I've found that playing a computer game before I do much else is a really good indicator of how well I am functioning. I also get the impression that playing the game for a while seems to improve my functionality. I don't consider this hard proof of anything. I do think it may be an indicator that there is something to this idea. It may merit serious research.

GTA driving (1)

kikito (971480) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233729)

Sidewalks *do* affect driving.

Games don't help, but they could (2, Interesting)

Jimmy_B (129296) | more than 5 years ago | (#25233899)

Video games on the market today certainly don't help with driving, but it's not hard to imagine a game that would. Suppose you had a driving simulator that was realistic, but malicious: every 10-15 minutes, it modifies the world or the behavior of the other drivers to put you in an emergency situation. Pedestrians walk in front your car, drivers cross into opposing traffic, brakes fail, and so on. Your score is how long you can survive. *That* would make people better drivers, but I've never heard of such a game on the market.

How about a game... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25234145)

That teaches people that the left lane is for passing.

It is more dangerous for people to be holding traffic back than to just let them pass you. Not to mention the road rage that usually ensues with people wanting to go faster than the person holding traffic back.

Depends on the type of game (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#25234175)

Somehow I really doubt that playing Final Fantasy XI increases my thinking speed.

If you're driving, and the mailboxes ... (1)

Grog6 (85859) | more than 5 years ago | (#25234255)

look like health packs, you have been gaming too much.

Also, even tho the other drivers are like the guys in Test Drive, you can't bump them out of the way...

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...