I’m sitting here in the darkness of my room wondering if there’s a way I can get out of work tomorrow. Don’t get me wrong I want to go to work (well to the normal point) it’s more I’m gripped with anxiety and I’m genuinely scared to! No, I’m not scared of my work place, quite honestly I’m scared of not getting there!
I for one am getting to a point where I am bloody terrified of getting on the road. I’m also bloody terrified of getting to work and seeing that notification on my desktop. That notification that could tell me someone is dead. That the road toll has claimed another life.
I hate that feeling. I can’t imagine what it feels like for or emergency services to get their calls. It’s bad enough for me and I’m simply a radio person doing my job, delivering the information to the public.
‘Roads are closed this morning after a fatal accident…expect delays’ the words fall out of my mouth with such insensitivity. A numbness comes over me when I see the notification. With a heavy heart I inform my co-host and we proceed through our show with a sad weigh hanging over us knowing what’s going on. ‘The man/woman was in their 20s/30s’…no they weren’t they were more than that. They are a person, a name, a loved one, a sister or brother, a parent, child, aunt or uncle, a member of a club or community group, a heart and a soul and now they are gone.
A family is destroyed. More than one world is turned upside down. Emergency services traumatised with what they see. Survivors haunted with guilt. With no warning, no preparation nothing but relentless heartache and devastation. Unbearable.
We have a crisis on our roads. Our roads are the worst they’ve ever been in a long time and are getting worse. Despite the endless campaigns to promote safety and the heartbreaking commercials we have a devastating road toll that is on the rise. Why?
Right now I live in the Hunter Valley. Somewhere I moved to escape the rat race of the Sydney traffic yet I’m faced with the reality that I have more fear here than in the city. In fact I have more fear on the roads here than I did in my entire time in Europe! 6 years living and driving around Italy, Spain, Germany and the likes. 3 lane round abouts, speed limitless freeways and cobbled streets and yet I’m honestly more terrified here than there!
Truth is we are disgraceful drivers Australia, terrible! The problem with our roads isn’t the roads, the pot holes, the speed limits or lack of police…sure they can all help but the real problem with the roads is you…and me.
Be honest with yourself…have you ever driven just a smidge over the speed limit…just once? Course you have! Have you ever got in the car knowing you were a little too tired but you took the risk? Of course you have! And have you once or twice had a sneaky look at your phone, taken a call on you mobile or answered a text while driving? I’m sure you have!
Even if you’re a dead set nerd of a driver like me you can probably admit to having done something wrong once or twice, and you know what that means we are all to blame! Yes you may have dodged the cops and sure nothing has come of it you were all ok but what if for one milli-second it didn’t work out, you or someone else may not be here…truth.
The biggest killers on our roads at the moment are fatigue, speed and lack of focus. I don’t need statistics, reports and the government to tell me that, I just watch what’s going on in every car that pasts me. The phones, the spaced out looks, the desire to overtake as soon as possible, the lack of attention, it’s all there, every day.
We get in our cars like it’s our god forsaken right to drive. Like because we passed a test once when we were 17 we have a right to do what we want and we are indestructible! Truth is it’s a privilege to have a licence and when you got your licence you also got one massive responsibility. You got the responsibility of making sure that everyone else on the roads gets to their destination safely. Because if they do that for you, you’ll get there too.
It’s about time we stopped passing the buck in this country and realise we are all responsible for our roads. Sure accidents happen but they don’t need to happen as often as they do and a hell of a lot of them can be prevented!
So stop please and think. Think about your family. Think about the mum with the kids in the car. The youngster learning to drive. The person visiting their sick family member and the parent wanting to get home. Be accountable for being behind the wheel and in turn we’ll be responsible for everyone getting home safely together. It’s time to step Australia we are all guilty of bad driving and we need to stop NOW!