Dash cam footage taken from a vehicle involved in a serious two-car collision south of Blackall recently could be used as an education tool for young drivers.
It has also served as a warning for drivers of all ages to be aware of the symptoms of an impending stroke.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Service officers from Blackall had to use cutting equipment to extract a 67-year-old Cairns man from his vehicle when they were called to a crash scene 12 kilometres south of Blackall on the Landsborough Highway on Sunday, July 30.
Preliminary investigations indicate that a Toyota Landcruiser towing a caravan was side-swiped by a dual cab Toyota Hilux travelling in the opposite direction.
The man who was cut out of his car, the driver of the Hilux, was transported to the Blackall Hospital for treatment before being transferred to Brisbane, where he was in a stable condition.
The occupants of the Landcruiser were uninjured but shaken.
Sergeant Ben Holdcroft said that after viewing dash cam footage from the Hilux, he could say that the crash occurred as a result of the Hilux drifting across the centre line of the highway and colliding with the side of the towed caravan.
“Attempts by the uninjured driver to swerve and avoid collision were not possible due to the high closing speed of both vehicles and the unexpected nature of the event,” he said.
“Investigations indicate that the injured driver suffered a stroke in the moments before the impact which resulted in his impairment and inability to control his vehicle.”
Rural Doctors Association of Queensland president, Dr Konrad Kangru, said the incident provided a couple of messages, firstly around the importance of pulling over immediately and calling 000 when symptoms were experienced.
“We use the acronymn FAST – facial drooping, arm weakness, slurred speech, and time – and time is very important.
“What we say is, don’t wait until you can’t give clear directions to medical personnel or you’re not able to use your hands to make a call.”
Dr Kangru said because the “golden hour” between experiencing symptoms and getting treatment was so valuable, people, especially those in rural areas, felt they could get to a hospital quicker by driving themselves than if they called emergency services, but that often had a poor result.
“The other type of stroke symptom is a sudden bad headache and we have the same message – pull over immediately.”
He said it was more common to hear of accidents occurring as a result of angina or heart attack symtoms.
Sergeant Holdcroft said police hope to utilise the footage seized as an education tool with local adolescents and aspiring drivers through the Adopt a Cop school program.
“It shows how quickly things can happen, and how the unexpected can happen,” he said. “It’s hoped through that positive education process that more good than bad might be derived from the unfortunate event.”