Gamers who play racing simulations are more likely to drive irresponsibly and to crash their cars. That's according to a German study which showed that games can significantly influence the real-world antics of players.

The study comes just two weeks after the RAC said that Britain was being plagued by a generation of ' game boy racers ' who drive recklessly after play driving games on their consoles or PCs.

The RAC was commenting on a BSM survey showed that 34 per cent of drivers are more likely to drive faster after a short games session, while 27 percent of young drivers also admitted to taking greater risks.

This latest study by the Allianz Centre for Technology , which poled 198 men and women across society, indicates that people who play driving games regularly are more likely to emulate their gaming driving style on real roads.

More risks

"Driving actions in these games often include competitive and reckless driving, speeding and crashing into other cars or pedestrians, or performing risky stunts with the vehicle. Most actions in racing games imply a very high risk of having an accident or severe crash in a highly realistic virtual road traffic environment," the research, which was published yesterday, said.

A parallel study has shown that men who play just one session of a racing game are likely to take more risks than gamers who play other genres of titles.

"Risk-acceptance is one of the most prominent and important factors in the discussion of the origin of accidents caused by young drivers," Joerg Kubitzki, who conducted the study, told journalists in an email.