Maybe the Midtown Madness games could be a better idea. The free drive option can be a stress reliever and there's 0 darkedgelordiness
But the best part about Carmageddon was the way it let you drive anywhere. And I mean anywhere. Turn off the road and go over any and all of the countryside? Check. Drive the wrong way round the Formula 1 racetrack*? Check. Drive off the Formula 1 race track and drive into the stands and run over the pedestrians? Check. Drive under water? Check. Do insane stunts and probably get away with them because the game knew when to use (mostly) realistic physics and when to just let reality slide? Check.
At the time, Midtown Madness was a good game too (this was before every third game became an open city driving game ala GTA 3), but Carmageddon was much, much more enjoyable, I thought.
* The Formula 1 races were in The Splat Pack, the brilliant official addon for Carmageddon that included the Mini Cooper (my favourite car in real life, by the way).