I left work early today to for an appointment at a Gold Coast physiotherapist not too far from home.
It was about 4:55PM and I was driving north on the M1, approaching exit 57 for Hope Island. At this time of day, there was a lot of traffic around and the intersection is notorious for being heavily congested as it serves as a massive interchange for some large roads. The traffic had already filled both of the offramp lanes and was now backing up a few hundred metres further down the M1 in the shoulder of the motorway. To give you an idea, the accident happened about 150m south of the overpass to the right of map marker A (see link above) and there was a few hundred metres of cars lined up behind us within seconds of the accident.
I indicated and slowed down like normal and just as I was coming to a rest I glanced into my right rear view mirror and thought to myself for a split second that I hope there isn’t an accident. Nearly as soon as that thought left my mind, all I can hear is an enormous smash as a dark blue Mitsubishi Lancer ploughed into the back of a Mitsubishi Pajero, which proceeded to hammer a Toyota Camry and then onto my Ford Telstar. Fortunately, I hadn’t come to a complete stop yet so was still a reasonable distance from the Mazda 3 in front of me and was able to stop my car before hitting it.
A lof of people that weren’t involved in the accident pulled over on the motorway to make sure everyone was okay, which I thought was fantastic. I’m sure to passing traffic, they must have got a shock as the man following the blue Lancer suggested that he didn’t even put his breaks on, or if he did – momentarily before he carreered into the back of the Pajero. After talking to the other drivers, the guy in the Mitsubishi Lancer said he wasn’t looking at the road, for some eight seconds (his words) – which scares the hell out of me. If that timing is true, eight seconds on the motorway is approximately 240m of travelling distance and a hell of a lot of things can happen in 240m of motorway, like say a four car multi-vehicle accident!
The emergency services were amazing, there was a motorbike police officer on the scene within five minutes and the first of the ambulances arrived a few minutes later, followed by fire engines, more police, ambulances & traffic control. Surprisingly, the tardiest of the lot were the tow trucks, who are normally like vultures circling waiting for something to die.
Incredibly, everyone came away from the accident with no or fairly light injuries. The guy in the Lancer had a broken finger and was struggling to breathe a little, which doesn’t surprise me given the rather abrupt stop he made coupled with the airbag. Probably the worst effected was the young woman in the Pajero, who took the brunt of the force and was really shaken up but visibly unharmed.
Being completely unsure what I should do in a multi-vehicle accident, I asked one of the police officers on the scene. They informed me that I didn’t need to worry about getting everyones details, they’d provide me with an incident number to provide to my insurance company. Now comes and interesting time ahead to see what’ll happen to the trusty Telstar!