Video games and simulations offer the opportunity to experience a variety of situations we probably would not normally find ourselves in, such as being pinned down in enemy territory firing an MP5 with a laser sight or fighting for survival against alien zombies. These games provide an escape from the everyday drudgery; however, they are not a substitute for real life. A terrific example is driving simulations.








No matter how sophisticated the programming and peripherals, a video game cannot duplicate the experience of driving a real vehicle. The feel of the moving vehicle, the unpredictability of other drivers, the weather and road conditions, and even the condition of your vehicle can all affect your driving performance. Actual time behind the wheel is the only reliable way to learn to drive.

That being said, simulation games have merit. There is a lot you can learn from driving and racing games. Formula One racers, IndyCar drivers and other professionals sometimes use video games to familiarize themselves with new tracks. Learning to look farther down the track and anticipate which maneuvers will help you avoid a crash both virtually and in reality can help sharpen a driver s skills and senses. The best games do this by mimicking the actual driving experience as closely as possible.

Racing games often do not require a steering wheel, but using one can greatly enhance the experience. To get the right wheel for the type of games you want to play, check out an online game steering wheel review or find an article in a reputable trade magazine. Some PC racing wheels are designed much like actual racing wheels and give you the experience of using a smaller steering wheel along with a clutch and shifting gears. Depending on how realistic you want your experience to be, PC gaming steering wheels can be part of a complete driving cockpit with full wheel rotation, accurate steering control, and a mountable clamp so the wheel does not slide out from under your hands.

If racing is not your thing and you just want to hone your skills on highways and residential roads, there are several games available to do it. A quick online search will return hundreds of driver s education games designed to teach the rules of the road and how to handle emergency situations. Chances are you will not need to break out your fancy PC racing wheel to play them   in fact, most likely you will not need more than the arrow keys on your keyboard   but they provide a safe way to practice the concepts you will need to know to pass your driver s exam.

These PC games review such rules as who has the right-of-way at a four-way intersection, when it is legal to cross the yellow line, and how to parallel park. Playing them can help you learn the concepts that will appear on the written test, but relying on them to teach you the techniques and provide the practical experience needed to be a safe driver could be disastrous. After all, most cars do not have arrow keys.

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