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Don’t swerve for rabbits

Don’t swerve for rabbits

I’ve been working the afternoon shift on the road lately, most days that involves driving a semi trailer to Albury and back to Melbourne.

Around midnight on Tuesday I was approaching Craigieburn, southbound, and see the head and tail lights of a car spinning in the distance. Then nothing.  I slow down, wondering if I had imagined it because I couldn’t see where the car had gone.  It wasn’t until I was almost on top of it that I saw the black Nissan sideways across the Hume Highway.  If I hadn’t noticed the spin in the distance, I would not have slowed down and probably t-boned the Nissan at 100mh, killing the driver.

I stopped the truck in the lane, with all my lights flashing so no one else would run into it, and check on the driver.  He said he had swerved to miss a rabbit!  I told him he should have just run over it, which is exactly what the police said when they turned up.

Thankfully the guy was ok, but his car was a mess.

This was the fourth time in my truck driving career that I’ve seen a car spin on a perfectly good piece of road.  My advise to anyone (especially my son Josh, who is learning to drive) is to not swerve at highway speeds for animals on the road.  For small animals, like a rabbit or echidna, you could usually just run over them with little damage.  For larger animals, like kangaroos, brake heavily and brace for impact – you will still do less damage than yanking hard on the steering wheel at 100kmh.

Car spin and crash on Hume Hwy after swerving to miss a rabbit.

Spin and crash on the Hume Hwy

Albury Run Daily

Stramit semi trailer on the way to Albury

Stramit semi trailer on the way to Albury

I’ve spent the last three weeks covering the Afternoon Shift at work, running a trailer up to our Albury Depot.  The Hume Highway is a nice and easy drive, but being freeway all the way it can get a little boring, but having said that, no two days are ever the same.

Over the three weeks there has certainly been some extremes of whether and road conditions.  The temperatures have ranged from 16 to 46 degrees Celsius, from blue skies to flooding rains and gale winds.  I’ve seen the wind blow down powerlines and start a grass fire.  I’ve seen a large tree blow over onto the Hume, blocking 3/4 of the road.  Most days you would see the heat shimmering from the tarmac, but a couple of times the highway looked more like a river.   On one evening there was a caravan that ran off the road and rolled and turned into what looked like a giant pile of match-sticks.

For the return trip, I was coming back with either an empty trailer or a back load of plastic pipe coils, meaning I had hardly any weight to haul up the hills so my little truck would fly past some of the big bangers!

The truck loaded with plastic pipe coils for the return trip to Melbourne

Loaded with plastic pipe coils for the return trip to Melbourne

For more photos of trucks I drive for work, check my “Trucks I’ve Driven” Gallery.