My Worst Driving Experience – Canberra to Sydney

Last year, I had to drive down to Canberra for work.  For me it take about the same amount of time to get a ride to the airport, check in, wait for the plane, fly to Canberra, get off the plane, wait for a cab and get to the office as it does to drive.  My wife and son came down for the day as she has a few friends down there and we ended up having dinner with a couple of them.

After dinner we started on the journey back to Sydney.  We left Canberra about 9pm.  My wife starts to drive.  I’m in the passenger seat watching cars fly past, I lean over to see that she’s driving about 10-20 klms under the speed limit, closer to 20 than 10 (a quick calculation in my head worked out that it would add at least 30 minutes to the total drive back to Sydney).  She said she wasn’t comfortable driving any faster, which was fine by me, however I wanted to get back quicker.

She had only been driving for about 10 minutes when I told her to pull over and I would drive the rest of the way.  (The complete drive is close to 3 hours).

So the first half of the drive was nice and quick, not much traffic.  We stop at about 10:30pm for petrol/drunks/snacks/toilet break.

After the quick stop got back on the Freeway back to Sydney.  I couldn’t see any headlights in the rear view mirror or any parking lights of cars in front.  If felt like we were the only car on the road.

Due to road work, part of the Freeway was One Lane, and due to work going on the speed limit was reduce down to 70klms/h (normally 110klms).  I do know that police patrol that area and also use Radar guys, so as I always do, I slowed down the 70klms/h.  The road works were maybe 5 kilometers or longer.

Part way along driving down the road works I noticed headlights coming up fast in the read view mirror.  It got to the point where I felt like I had to accelerate otherwise I would be hit.  There was a Semi-trailer pulling (from memory), 2 trailers.  He remained a couple of meters off my bumper bar for the remainder of the road works.  I couldn’t keep to 70klms/h as I felt like if I got down to that speed he might possibly hit out car… and with my wife and son on board I didn’t want that… my wife was awake at the time and witnessed all of this.

When I got to the end of the road works I got up to speed as quickly as I could to put some distance between the truck and myself.

Once the truck got up to speed, he started to speed.  I could see him coming closer and closer behind me in the rear view mirror.  He get up really to us and changes lanes and over takes us.  I would say he was easily doing 150klms/h.  Our car swerved with the wake he was creating.

At that point, in the distance I could see another truck, we had caught up to it as it was doing just under the speed limit.  The truck which overtook us, overtook this truck in about 30 seconds – 1 minute.  As he passed you could see the other truck flash this driver as it to say “You have to be kidding”.

It took me about 5 minutes to catch the truck that he overtook (to give you an idea of how fast he was actually going).  This might sound strange, however I feel like you can talk to other drivers through your driving.  I felt like the driver of the overtaken truck kind of patted me on the back and said, “don’t worry, that guy was an ass.”

Over the next 15 minutes I gradually pulled away from that truck and eventually caught the other truck.  At all times I was doing the speed limit (just shows you how much he slowed down).  It then took 5-10 minutes to overtake him.  There was still very few cars around, however there were a few on the road as we were getting closer to Sydney.

I would come up beside him and then he would start to accelerate (breaking the speed limit) so I couldn’t pass him.  He did this a couple of times, all the time I maintained the speed limit.  At this time both the wife and son were asleep in the car.

I think it got to the point where he realised that all I was doing was the speed limit at all times… and he eventually slowed down just a little to let me past.  Over the next 15-20 minute I gradually pulled away from him.  At this time we were getting closer to suburbia and the traffic was increasing.  All off a sudden in the rear view mirror I see him again weaving between cars like you would see a hoon in a sports car drive.  He comes flying up behind me again getting closer to my bumper then all of a sudden exits the Freeway on a Ramp and goes flying past me.  I’d say he missed the car by about 1 m or so.

I don’t think I have ever been afraid driving ever as I was that night driving home from Canberra.

Leave a Reply