DRIVE TIME: Country singer Morgan Evans takes the road safety message to Warners Bay High School yesterday. Picture: Ryan OslandMORGAN Evans can’t help thinking about it every time he gets into a car.
His car on the wrong side of the road. The screeching brakes. The telegraph pole. The paddock. His girlfriend crying.
The terror of almost losing his life, and worse still, almost taking the life of another. The relief of surviving.
‘‘I was 21 and thought I was a superhero,’’ the Newcastle singer-songwriter said.
‘‘But I probably should be dead.’’
Evans, the CMC New Oz Artist of the Year, spoke yesterday about his close-call on the road to promote safe driving to year 10 students at his former school, Warners Bay High.
‘‘I’m incredibly embarrassed to tell this story, but I’m obligated to tell it now that I’ve survived,’’ he said.
‘‘If I tell it, maybe someone else doesn’t have to live it.’’
Evans had just spent two days with friends at the Byron Bay Bluesfest when the group returned about midnight to their Lennox Head accommodation.
Most of the group had tickets for the following day’s festival and went to sleep, but Evans and his girlfriend at the time decided to start their drive back to Newcastle.
Evans said he had driven the route about 20 times and thought he had plenty of experience driving at night.
But despite taking regular rest breaks, he fell asleep at the wheel.
The car he was driving crossed to the other side of the road, missed a telegraph pole, went over an embankment, broke through a barbed wire fence and continued about 50 metres into a field.
Evans woke up in the car travelling on cruise control at 110kilometres an hour.
‘‘I slammed on the brakes, brought the car to a stop, looked at my girlfriend to see if she was all right – we didn’t know if we were all right, we were both in shock – she was crying and I didn’t know what to do,’’ he said.
‘‘The ambos, the cops, no one could actually believe we had survived.’’
‘‘I think about it every single time I get in the car.’’
Mr Evans also shared the story of his close school friend, who suffered a severe brain injury about three years ago and is still in a wheelchair and largely unable to communicate.
‘‘If you don’t die in one of these car crashes, this is the most likely outcome, you end up with a severe brain injury and who knows how that could manifest itself,’’ he told students.
Evans said 21per cent of all drivers and riders killed on the road were between 17 and 25 years of age, even though this age group held only 14 per cent of all licences.
He said this was despite most people knowing about the dangers of speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, fatigue, distractions and not wearing seatbelts.
Evans is an ambassador for bstreetsmart, an annual forum for year 10 to 12 students organised by the Westmead Hospital Trauma Service.