Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Day Video Gaming Saved Me

Today I narrowly escaped being in a car accident. I was in the center lane (of three), and there was a car in the left lane beside me and half a car length ahead. We were going about 45 miles per hour. Suddenly, without signaling or looking back, that driver swerved across all three lanes and turned off into a driveway, cutting me off.

I had no choice but to match his crazy maneuver, just six inches to his right, and I wound up being forced to drive up onto the sidewalk to avoid a collision with this madman. I really wish someone had captured the whole thing on video, because I would put it up on YouTube and become famous. It couldn't have been more perfect if it had been a rehearsed stunt for a movie.

Once I stopped and realized I had miraculously avoided any damage to my car, I had a weird suspicion. This guy's force-me-off-the-road technique was so good that . . . could it have been intentional? I waited to see if he would stop and get out of the car. But he kept going. That's when I realized that he was completely unaware of the whole incident. He didn't even know I existed.

I believe that I escaped this day without a scratch because of all the hours I spent playing Test Drive Unlimited on the Xbox 360. Playing that game trained me in spontaneous evasive maneuvers until they have become second nature. I don't normally need to do them in real life, but all the mental pathways are there. Video gaming has finally paid off.


LeesMyth said...

Sounds harrowing - but also very cool. Malcolm Gladwell wrote a review of "Everything Bad is Good for You" which argues (among other things) that video games make people smarter....

His review is available for free at http://www.newyorker.com/

Incidentally, I don't think he mentions Test Drive Unlimited, but he does mention Grand Theft Auto III.

Tom said...

I guess the downside to TDU is that all the high-speed practice also makes you feel like you are driving ridiculously, unnaturally slow when you are really just driving at the speed limit.