In this 5-part mini course, I will tell you about a good friend of mine: Tony Carnahan and how he eventually managed to get over his fear of driving.
Tony Carnahan, 35, gets out of bed, gets dressed, packs his lunch for the day, and steps outside to wait for the person who will be coming to give him a ride to work today. Many times, unable to find someone who was willing to pick him up, Tony found himself walking the 7 miles to work in order to make a living for himself and his 13 year old son. Work isn’t the only time that Tony has found himself completely at the mercy of other people to give him a ride. Even basic tasks such as grocery shopping, doctors appointments, or just going to the store requires Tony to walk or find someone who will pick him up and take him.
It’s not that Tony can’t afford a vehicle, because it can. Despite living in a rural area that require people to have a vehicle in order to accomplish anything, Tony doesn’t drive, and hasn’t been behind the wheel of a vehicle in more than 20 years. In fact, Tony has never even gotten his drivers license.
You see, Tony and his twin brother used to take their mothers car when they were teenagers in order to meet with friends. He was somewhat of a wild child back in those days, but something changed one summer night. Tony’s brother had decided to take the car, as they usually did, without their parents knowledge. Tony decided that he would drive that night so his brother could relax and not have to worry about being behind the wheel.
On a back road far from civilization, on their way to a friends house, Tony had taken a corner to quickly, slid off of the road, and went down over an embankment completely totaling the car. His brother was flung from the car and ended up spending 4 months in the hospital and physical therapy in order to recover.
That night changed Tony and his brothers life forever. It took his brother 8 months before he was able to walk again without the aid of a cane or crutches. Tony never forgot the image of his brother laying by the car that night with blood rushing from his leg and the bone sticking out where Tony could see it.
Although there are no specific statistics on the number of people who deal with driving fears or suffer from this condition, clinical therapist Stacia Gilbert, therapist for the Hope Foundation in Selinsgrove, P.A., says “Driving fears are extremely common, especially among people who have experienced some type of terrifying or scary situation in a vehicle or who have had a close friend or family member who died or almost died while behind the wheel.”
In a few days I’ll post the second part of this story…