• best driving simulator

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  • I have several teenagers nearing driver's license age. I imagine 'playing' on a lifelike driving simulator game may pay for itself in reduced 'live' lesson time. Any recommendations?

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    Question by aryeh a

This doesn't answer your question, but treating driving like a game is probably not the best way to start your teenagers off behind the wheel.

Any standard computer setup (one to two forward located monitors) will not allow them to adjust and check their mirrors, operate turn signals, look over their shoulders to check blind spots while changing lanes and merging, and practice other skills that are absolutely essential to driving safely on shared public roads. If these skills are not used on the simulator, they will not be used in real life. It would be easy for bad habits to form.

Short of an extremely expensive, custom hardware simulator, I think using a driving simulator would do more harm than good for a new driver. Why not take them to a large, empty parking lot on a weekend and have them practice? Pick up some small parking cones and practice parallel parking, adjusting and checking mirrors and signaling, etc. If you have a vehicle with a manual transmission, this would be a good opportunity for them to learn how to engage and disengage the clutch and shift appropriately (something else that would be impossible on a simulator/game).

Depending on your jurisdiction, liability insurance and a learner's permit or equivalent may be required (in many jurisdictions, this would only apply to operating a vehicle on a public road). If you are short-tempered or emotional, asking a trusted friend to teach may be a good idea.

Answer by nicks

Amen to everything in the response from answerer #1. Also consider professional driving lessons (required, I think, here in Maryland), ESPECIALLY if they will be driving a manual transmission. Better to wear out the clutch on someone else's car than on yours. (My son was going to be driving my 20-year-old sports car.)

Answer by pstarantino

You guys have no clue as to what a driving simulater can do for real world driving. Every real world professional race driver uses a xbox360 or ps3 or PC to train for driving on real world courses using either Forza 4 on xbox or GT5 on ps3 with the correct setup from FANATEC with added chair you can learn real skills that you never could from just learning to parallel park . Yes it costs money, about a grand, but is money well spent to hone your skills or gain new ones that could never be learned short of full blown race track .

Answer by ctl24u

When I was in my early- to mid-teens, I learned to drive on an arcade game at the mall called Hard Drivin'. The graphics were blocky, but the arcade setup had 3 pedals, a gear shift, and a steering wheel all with force feedback, and the manual transmission mode was pretty realistic -- grinding, stalling, jerking, everything. It really helped me later, when I had to learn how to drive my first car (also a manual)

Here is a link to the Wikipedia article on the series: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_Drivin'

Answer by ihateloggingin

Years ago, I owned a simple driving simulator program. I never got a chance to use it but I'm sure it included all the things one would expect from driving software like use of blinkers, etc. My personal take is that video games are now proving beneficial in learning many skills that require eye and motor coordination. I would not poo-poo driving software unless you're talking about a game like Carmegeddon (or that old game where the goal was to avoid the cops). IMHO, I think driving games would prove useful to those just learning to drive even if they were not fully functional. Hopefully, they would enhance coordination and reinforce skills such as situational awareness. Simulation programs are becoming "de rigueur" in the military for teaching similar types of skills.

Answer by desertjedi

I'd suggest one not mentioned above... I learned to drive on a garden tractor when i was 8 years old. Rotate each of your kids through someone's lawnmowing business in the summer.

Answer by jeremy hunsinger
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