It is the kind of situation many truck drivers dread, something which can play on the mind, the nightmare scenario of turning up as the first person at the scene of an accident. It is more likely to happen to a truckie than any other road user.
Truck drivers spend a lot more time behind the wheel than any other driver. They are also often using the road at times when others are at home playing with the kids, watching TV or tucked up warmly in bed.
It is great to see one of these truckies, who found himself in this nightmare scenario, being recognised as a Bridgestone Bandag Highway Guardian. Redstar Transport driver, John Fabian, was presented with his award last week.
He came across one of those scenes any truck driver worries about, a head-on collision between two passenger vehicles on a remote stretch of South Australia’s Eyre Highway in February 2017.
It couldn’t get much worse, being 150km West of Ceduna on the Eyre Highway, far from civilisation. John, who has been driving trucks for over seven years, was first on the scene and sprang into action immediately. He contacted his operations team in Melbourne to relay his location to local emergency services before walking the scene to assess the condition of the all the people involved.
“There was a lady trapped in one of the vehicles, so I just asked a couple questions to see where the pain was and ascertained that she potentially had some lower limb crush injuries, another person had abdominal trauma and a broken leg,” said John.
“The second I spoke to emergency services, we just went through all the possible injuries they had and they let me know there were three ambulances about an hour away and a couple of nurses from the Yalata Indigenous community were also inbound.”
Luckily for those hurt in the crash, John has spent 10 years in the military and three years contracting in Iraq, and is no stranger to emergency situations. He reacted calmly and did the right thing, using his experience to help the emergency services assess the situation.
Many truckies before and since will have found themselves in similar situations and reacted as best they could to the situation. Often, at an accident, you will find it’s the truckie who is redirecting traffic, calming down an hysterical victim or simply getting on with the job of sorting out the situation.
Of course, the vast majority of these people go on their way with little thanks but some satisfaction in doing the right thing. Seeing John getting recognised so publicly can be seen to be, in part, acknowledging all of those others who also put their best foot forward when the nightmare occurs.