The reality of driving dangerously

I was on holiday with my wife in the north of Queensland, Australia a few years ago.

We rented a car and travelled around the town we stayed, visiting the sites and attractions along the coast from Cairns to Mossman. To get between these towns you’ll need to take Captain Cook Highway which is one of the most scenic asphalted roads in the world, winding along the coast of Queensland.

It’s a dual-carriage way, meaning there’s only one lane each direction and much of it is barely protected by steel rope. If driving on the highway at night, the only light is the light from your headlights and the moon light.

One night, I was driving with my wife back to Cairns. I noticed a pair of headlights suddenly appear in my rear-view mirror around a bend at a rather fast speed. I steadily maintained my speed but this car was in a hurry.

Now in Australia, if the painted line in the middle of the road is solid, you must not overtake as it is not safe to do so. If the painted line in the middle of the road is broken, you may overtake. Sadly, many road users don’t obey this law this far out of a town or in rural areas.

I saw the car pull into the right lane to overtake us and seconds later, the car drove through the steel ropes and off the cliff. I slammed on the brakes as soon and in the process, we were spun out of control and I blacked out.

I don’t remember what happened after that but I woke up in hospital in the early hours of the morning in excruciating pain in my face. I felt roughness on my face but my wife, who had spent the whole night beside me, was relieved I had woken and let me know that those were stitches. 50 of them.

She told me the whole story once I came around.

The car behind us tried to overtake us, but lost control of the car and drove off the cliff. They had collided with the steel rope fence and our crashed into them as I slammed on the brakes. This sent them over the cliff and sadly a 17-year old provisional driver lost his life, as did his young girlfriend. The couples corpses were unidentifable.

Our car caught fire but another driver was able to help my wife and I out of the car and if it weren’t for that man, we would have met a smiliar fate to the poor young couple. We were also very lucky not to have ended up over the cliff as well.

Unfortunately this is not uncommon for Captain Cook Highway and is heavily used by many drivers, some which have lost their lives or become injured in similar ways, earning itself the nickname of The Most Dangerous Highway in Australia.

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