“I remember having the presence of mind to lift up, covered in fuel and a broken seat, to remove the seatbelt and go down to the ground, and I couldn’t actually get her seatbelt off.”
Sam Coward recalls the moment he tried to see if his wife was OK following being run off the road by a drunk driver.
It was 11 o’clock on a Friday night in 1999 when Hot 91.1 radio host, Sam Coward, his wife and their dog were driving home. They were going about 100kms an hour on the motorway in an old Landcruiser, no roof. One minute they were listening to music. The next, they were dangling upside-down.
“I remember everything being quiet and really still, and just adrenaline taking over – like you had cups over your ears,” Sam recalled while sharing his survivor story with our partners at Youi Insurance during their Queensland Road Safety week event.
In 2015, drink driving contributed to one in every four fatalities on Queensland roads alone. Sam’s story is a reminder that we share our roads with drunk drivers all the time, and that we should never become complacent with road safety.
According to the Transport Accident Commission, “close to 1 in 5 drivers and riders who lost their lives in the last 5 years had a BAC greater than 0.05.” But that doesn’t mean 0.05 is a safe amount, either. Even though that’s the national allowance for open licence holders, a BAC of 0.05 slows your reaction time and doubles your risk of an accident.
The bottom line is when it comes to driving, no amount of alcohol is safe. Even if you think you know your limit, your BAC can continue to rise after you stop drinking, affecting your judgement, memory and reaction time.
As Sam reminds us, “You can get complacent in cars but that was a moment I’ll never forget.”