Are You a Bad Driver? It Could Be Genetic

Kim Conte

driving in the carWhen I think about bad driving, my sister comes to mind. (Sorry, Kristin, but it's true!) Once, on a road trip together, I insisting on driving all 10 hours myself, just so I wouldn't have to be in the car with her in the driver's seat. She really is that bad of a driver.

I should be careful with my accusations, however, because new research suggests that bad driving is genetic. So, if my sister is genetically programed to be a bad driver, then I might be one, too!

A new study suggests that individuals born with a certain variant of a gene might be worse drivers than their counterparts.Thirty percent of Americans have this particular gene; therefore, if it is, in fact, the case that this gene variant causes bad driving, then 30 percent of Americans would be categorized as "bad drivers."

Isn't it scary to think that there are so many bad drivers on the road?

In the study, participants were asked to drive 15 laps on a simulator that required them to learn the nuances of a track with difficult curves and turns.Those with the particular gene variant performed 20 percent worse on the simulation test compared with those without the gene variant.

The problem with the study? It only tested 29 people, which is too small of a sampling to draw any decisive conclusions. In other words, more tests need to be done.

And in the meantime, there's good news. The gene variant in question doesn't only cause bad driving. Rather, it is thought that people with this gene variant maintain their usual mental sharpness longer than those without it when neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's, Huntington's and multiple sclerosis are present.

Are you a bad driver? Do you blame genetics?


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