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My fear of car crashes in film and television

I have a condition. Ok, no, it’s more that I’ve been conditioned. Every time I’m watching a movie or TV show, and there is a front-facing or side-on shot of the driver and or passenger in a car, I fear for them. It may be the happiest movie of all time, but I fear for them.

It was the 2nd of 3rd year of uni, and I was sitting towards the back of a lecture theatre watching the season 4 finale of Alias. In the space of 10 seconds, I heard “well, for starters, my name isn’t Michael Vaughn”, and before I could even gasp at the revelation, I jumped out of my seat, startled at that car crash.

This is when it began, and it hasn’t left me since. 

There’s no doubt a psychological explanation for it, but my 5 second attempt just now to Google an answer failed.

I was reminded of this because of the violent reaction I had to a car crash tonight in <spoiler>Wish You Were Here</spoiler>. There was a minute of manipulation that jumped between dread, hope, redemption, and then BANG! In a second, I’d braced myself, ducked my head, and was closing my eyes. All over a character I was introduced to an hour before that moment.

I’ve never dreamt about it, or felt it while driving; it’s purely confined to this reaction I have when watching something. Not to be too morbid, but by some cruel fate, I’ll be driving along one day and it’ll happen. I won’t be in the situation to see it, nor have the time to dread it.

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