can you learn to drive playing videogames?

this might be a stupid question. obviously real world driving requires real world experience and no simulation can possibly be a substitute for that. but commercial plane pilots train extensively with sims before doing the real thing, right? maybe a better way to phrase the question would be how much can you learn to drive by playing videogames? are there any games out there that successfully simulate the experience of driving a normal car in a normal context? how applicable is the knowledge one might gather from, say, playing Euro Truck Simulator, to the real world? there's the “controlling the car” part and the “road safety” part, right? how accurate are these existing simulations, and would they be helpful or harmful to the pursuit of learning to drive in the real world?

i grew up in a european city with great public transportation, so i've never needed to drive (ok i failed the test twice), but now i'm thinking about it again and i was just wondering. i know [a lot of you like cars](, so pls illuminate me!

@tombo#32863 I have to put some thought into this, but I have to say going from a child who played tons of racing games to a teenager learning to drive I was (and still am) mind-boggled by how dissimilar the experiences are. I think the main differences boil down to amount and type of feedback, field of vision, actual/perceived speed, and, you know, having to actually worry about potentially harming/killing yourself and other living people with your actions! This is probably a pretty reductive train of thought, but practically speaking I find very little similarity between day-to-day IRL driving and the video game depictions (I have never raced a real car, so can't speak to that).

With all that being said, Deadly Premonition is _by far_ the most accurate simulation of real life driving that I have experienced in a video game.

i was 13 the first time anyone (my aunt) let me try driving a car. i found that you have to turn the wheel a lot more than you have to push a joystick, but only after everyone in the car screamed very loudly that i was about to drive us all out of the parking lot, over the patch of grass, and into traffic.

I don‘t drive in snow all that much because I live in Portland and when it snows in Portland the right decision is to just stay home. The economics of buying studded tires for an environment where we get two snow events a year vs. staying at home and making soup and watching movies doesn’t compare. This is my policy except for one year when my wife got a bad bronchial infection and we absolutely needed to get her seen.

I had a front-wheel-drive Jetta at the time and only two chains which I installed on the front wheels (as per the instructions). My rear wheels get caught in parallel ice ruts and they absolutely would not come out when I changed lanes. I had not experienced drifting a car outside of a video game and I am 100% positive that learning how to recover a spin in Gran Turismo kept the car and us both safely on the road instead of crashing into the side of the road. Yeah, you need to move the steering wheel a lot more than on a Dual Shock, (said with love @espercontrol#32878 !) but I moved it fast, I moved it in the directions it needed to go, and we were (relatively) safe.

Mario kart is pretty similar to driving a real go kart (excluding the powerups). Do they have go karts in Europe? Doesn’t seem like a europe thing

When I was learning to drive, my instructor asked if I played video games, I said no (as I didn't want to talk to her about it). She proceeded to say that she often finds people who do play games generally pick it up easier. I assume its probably to do with hand eye coordination and being used to quickly processing a lot of info.

I took a long break from racing games, learning to drive in that time, and the main thing I found annoying about Gran Turismo when I returned was the view. The lack of peripheral vision took some getting used to for me and I would find myself driving into the side of other cars because of it. On the other hand, Gran Turismo fully taught me about the apex of a corner which helped me become a smoother driver and more confident on winding country roads.

When I was 13 I mistakenly bought Hard Drivin’ for this reason.

Adding on to this thread, do you think I could learn how to drive a manual car through games? Auto is all I know and I've been looking at Toyota MRS/MR2 roadsters which are 90% manual.

@beets#32892 Absolutely not without a clutch pedal. There is a physicality of it that you don't get with just shift buttons on the bumper.

Barring some kind of elaborate simulation setup, I think I agree with the general tenor of the conversation so far–at least the tactile experience of videogame driving will not prepare you for the tactile experience of operating a real car. I also found the operation of a real car initially quite strange feeling at first, and I think part of that was absolutely needing to sever all associations I had with operating cars or car-like things in videogames.

Forgive me for being overly precious if not preachy to the point of condescension, but I'd go so far as to add that one should approach driving a real car with the expectation that driving in games is not like driving a car in any conceivable way, at least out of respect for preparing one to not know what to expect even a little bit. Driving for the first time is something one should approach convinced of their absolute ignorance, since, you know, people's lives including one's own are at stake, and muscle memory is a hell of a thing, and nothing other than direct experience will really be able to get someone to understand the difference between holding A while playing Mario Kart and operating a gas pedal on a real car.

That being said, although videogames won't teach you how to drive I think it's safe to say that a lot of the soft skills are very transferable, which will translate into being able to learn how to drive not only quicker than average but also safer and more competently. Hand eye coordination is just the tip of the iceberg really, I think there's a lot to be said about stuff like operating tools or machines external to one's body in a natural way and being used to disconnected physical motions having external feedback, co-ordinating complex movement especially with others, fast reaction times, relying on trained movements under pressure, the importance of visibility and positioning, lots of other things.

@yeso#32885 they do have karts in Europe! there‘s quite a bit of racing culture and karts are a lot of kids’ introduction to driving. i wasn't cool enough to do that tho

Playing too many racing games at age 15 and 16 was to my detriment, if anything. Gran Turismo's license tests and that thick instruction book that went over apexes and the friction circle instilled massive amounts of unearned confidence in my real world driving skills. And yeah I crashed. Multiple times.

If you're starting at zero having a controller in your hand isn't going to do anything for your ability to drive in real life, they're just too different. I mean I love driving a manual in real life, there's so much balance to find and tactile feedback from your feet your butt your gut your head and your hands. I hate driving in manual mode in a game. Clicking a shoulder button is meaningless.

There is one thing that driving in video games taught me that carried over to real life. Back in 2006, well before smartphone GPS apps, playing Tokyo Xtreme Racer for years and years on the Dreamcast and PS2 burned the map of Tokyo’s highway system into my brain. So after moving to the middle of nowhere Ibaraki and getting a car, I was able to easily drive across three or four prefectures to Daikoku Futo PA, the very bottom left point of the TXR map, just by keeping in mind that I would need to get to the C2 ring road and take it down past the Rainbow Bridge and Odaiba, and then down the Wangan Line all the way out to the Yokohama Bay Bridge and the winding corkscrew off ramp to Daikoku Futo, one of the best car places in Japan. Essentially just a big parking lot and highway rest area surrounded by those corkscrew ramps, it's home to constant car meets with a huge variety of amazing cars. A great finish line!


@thebryanjzx90#32976 I was able to easily drive across three or four prefectures to Daikoku Futo PA…

this is incredible

Can't believe there is a discussion instead of someone just saying