Impact of gender, organized athletics, and video gaming on driving skills in novice drivers.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0190885
Given that novice drivers tend to be young, and teenagers and young adult drivers are involved in the greatest number of accidents, it is important that we understand what factors impact the driving skills of this population of drivers. The primary aim of the present study was to understand the impact of gender, organized athletics, and video gaming on driving skills of novice drivers under real-world driving conditions. Novice driving students having less than five hours driving experience previous to a normal driving lesson were evaluated on their self-confidence (self-reported) prior to the lesson and driving skill evaluated by their instructor during the course of the lesson. Information was collected about gender, age, whether or not the students were involved in organized athletics, and the extent of their video game playing. There was no impact of gender or extent of video game playing on driving skills. Females were significantly less self-confident with driving than males, but this did not translate to gender differences in driving skills. Being involved in organized athletics-either currently or in the past-significantly enhanced driving skills in both females and males. Finally, novice drivers' age was negatively correlated with driving skills. That is, younger novice drivers (especially males) had better driving skills than older novice drivers. This is counter to popular belief that young drivers lack technical driving skills because they have less experience behind the wheel. Based on the results of the current study, we hypothesize that the relatively high accident rate of younger drivers (especially male drivers) is most likely due to inattention to safety considerations rather than lack of technical driving ability.