BAD posture and good timing saved a 21-year-old driver’s life last Tuesday near Korumburra when his car hit the wire barriers and flipped onto its roof.
The windscreen wipers on Aaron Wilson’s 1998 Honda CR-V were at full speed as rain pelted down on the South Gippsland Highway.
He was driving to a mate’s birthday party in a 100km/h speed limit section, when at around 4.10pm he hit mud and flowing water at the same time.
It caused the rear end of the car to spin out into the right lane, then his front left tyre hit the wire barriers – unintentionally creating a ramp effect – and the car completed a spectacular flip, landing on its roof.
Aaron had only had the car for a month.
He said it was truly one of those moments where your life flashes before your eyes.
“I thought it was going to be a lot worse. I thought it was all over then and there,” he said.
When he opened his eyes, all the other cars and trees were upside down.
He turned the ignition off, undid his seatbelt, fell to the ground – also the roof – and crawled out of the car.
“I don’t know if I went into shock or superhero mode, but I thought there might be fuel leaking or something,” he said.
Looking at the damage to his car with other onlookers, he saw he was about one metre off from hitting a tree.
“They were all looking to see if anyone was in the car and I had to be like ‘No, it was me in there’.
“I think I was lucky considering I was doing 100km/h.”
Police arrived soon after, followed by an ambulance, where Aaron was taken to Casey Hospital.
“Everything went so quickly, and I was by myself, I just got discharged.
“Then days afterwards, the pain kicked in.”
Aaron’s looking at physical rehab to recover from the accident.
He’s keen to get back to labour work but is likely to be going back and forward from doctor’s appointments for the next few months.
When he was driving, Aaron had his seat tilted back a little bit and his left arm on the door, in a bit of a “gangsta” way, he said.
“If I hadn’t been driving that way, I would’ve been crushed,” he said.
“If I was sitting with the straight back and everything, I would’ve had my head crushed because I wouldn’t have been thrown back so far.”
Using a walking stick to get around, he says it could have been worse.
“It was an awesome car,” he said of the now written-off vehicle.
“The roof is caved in and I thought it’d be like hitting my head against a brick, but that didn’t happen.”
Safety barriers: working hard or hardly working?
WIRE barriers being installed along the Bass Highway as part of a $7.45 million project are designed to save lives, but are they also making a popular bus stop area more dangerous?
On the side of the road, near a bus stop at the intersection of Grantville-Glen Alvie Road and the Bass Highway, is a common spot for parents to park to pick up their kids from buses.
But parents and grandparents are parking closer to the edge of oncoming traffic because there’s not enough room where the barriers are to get in and out.
Drivers aren’t allowed to park on the road within 10 metres of the bus stop, but residents say there’s nowhere else safe to park.
Local Julie Bartolo regularly picks up her grandchildren from the Grantville bus stop.
While there are pedestrian crossings on the Bass Highway and Grantville-Glen Alvie Road, Ms Bartolo says some drivers are too busy seeing if any traffic is coming from their right, to notice the children crossing in front of them on Grantville-Glen Alvie Road.
“We’re talking school children, they lose concentration, especially talking to a friend,” she said.
“The kids get off the bus, they’re fighting and it’s like I don’t even exist. How is traffic going to exist?”
Ms Bartolo said she spoke to a VicRoads representative who said she should park at the Grantville BP Service Station.
She says it’s safer to pull up close to the bus stop, and close to her two seven-year-old granddaughters, rather than them walking across 11 lanes of traffic to get to BP.
But the proposed wire barriers will also make parking near the bus stop a safety issue.
Trucks, cars and on Friday afternoons, city-goers, drive through the intersection at 80 km/h.
“The other day I parked closer to the road, opened up the door and by the time I did that a truck came down and nearly ripped the door out of my own hands.
“Even my grandson went to get in and I had to tell him to watch the door,” she said.
Cars can’t park on the side of a road within 20 metres before a bus stop sign and within 10 metres after the stop.
It’s understood the installation of the wire barrier just past the Grantville bus stop is on hold temporarily.
VicRoads’ regional director Scott Lawrence said, “parking on the Bass Highway shoulder or in the grassed road reserve is dangerous and should be avoided, unless in the case of breakdown or emergency.”