Back in February, I wrote an essay about how a car accident left me with a stubborn fear of driving — something that GTA V’s unnervingly realistic car crashes reminded me of often. My colleagues at Jalopnik weren’t having it. They eventually convinced me to try driving again, and you can see how it went in their story.
The last thing you want to do after a bad accident is drive but, as any good therapist will tell you, avoiding the problem only makes it worse. Our friend Yannick Lejacq from Kotaku resisted driving following a bad accident so we did what friends do: We made him get back behind the wheel.
Earlier this year we all read this great piece from Yannick detailing how he’d had a negative reaction to playing the driving sections of Grand Theft Auto V and how little he’d driven since an accident nearly killed his family.
I’m afraid of cars. The real ones, I mean. And not in some vague, existential way that makes me fear for the future of planet earth’s ecosystem or wonder what it is about human nature that compels us to fetishise giant pieces of machinery that hurl us through space with a speed and imprecision that proves deadly far too often. The simple prospect of being inside a moving car — let alone being the one responsible for its movement — is what scares me.
Driving on a highway is practically unfathomable. Like any quirk or paranoia, this can defy logic or reason. It’s an ugly little tingling sensation, a flurry in my chest or a shortness of breath that stirs every time some vehicle I’m sitting in the passenger seat of merges onto a major highway. I’ve never driven on a highway. Nor do I ever really want to, because of a car accident I got in the summer after my junior year of high school that almost killed me and my immediate family.
Obviously, we don’t like the idea of anyone being afraid of cars so we took Yannick out to the Survive The Drive teen driving program out at Lime Rock. The idea behind Survive The Drive is to give a more advanced kind of driving education than you normally get in High School and a chance to really push the limits of the car.
But to make it a little more fun we borrowed a Smurf Blue Volvo S60 Polestar from Volvo so Yannick could experience the drive in a way that was both safe and fun as hell. At one point he giddily remarked “I’m a gearhead now” while changing a tyre.
It’s a start!