Video game helps prepare teens for driving

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ALAMEDA (KRON) — Penny Chai might only be 14 — but getting behind the wheel is already on her mind.

“I don’t wanna crash and I don’t wanna get in any accidents,” she said. “I’m really paranoid about that.”

“We play a lot of golf so she’s always wanting to drive the cart,” Crx Chai, Penny’s father, said. “And she’s always wanted to do things before anyone else.”

When Crx heard there was a video game that could help get her prepared, he didn’t hesitate to try it out.

“This game is pretty cool cause it’s like, Drivers Ed in a game,” he said.

Bob Davis has been making large scale simulators for teenage drivers since 2005.

“The purpose behind driving essentials is simply to allow interactive teen driver training in your own home,” Davis said. “So we made it accessible on consoles.”

But he said creating one for Xbox and PS4 gamers opens up a new option for teen driving preparedness.

“It keeps the attention of the teen users cause it’s competitive and its immediate feedback,” he said. “It’s entertaining without being silly.”

“It’s a game and it really doesn’t seem like practice,” Penny said. “I’m trying to get the best score and I get upset when I don’t, so I think that’ll translate when I’m on the road, i’ll want to get the points!”

The game has 10 different lessons, starting with the basics and then taking you through several different scenarios, so when it’s time get on the road you’re more fully prepared.

“The level I’m on right now, there’s a part where you have a phone and it forces you to look at it,” Penny said. “And it really shows you how distracted you are when you’re on your phone.”

“I think the one thing is that now that we’re watching her play, while I’m driving I’m more conscious too,” Crx said.

And though there’s no real replacement for behind the wheel experience, the Chais say the game is giving them peace of mind.

“This has been one of my biggest fears, but seeing all the scenarios, cell phones, seeing kids run in the middle of the street and different weather conditions is hard to practice when you’re in a car. So I think it’s a good supplement to drivers practice and education,” Crx said.

The game costs $39 and is available as a digital download on both Xbox and PS4: https://www.drivingxe.com/

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