MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Braking the Cycle's Trudi Maxwell is teaching youth about the dangers of fatigue driving with a very personal and meaningful touch. Picture: Allan Reinikka ROK060919atrudi1
MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Braking the Cycle's Trudi Maxwell is teaching youth about the dangers of fatigue driving with a very personal and meaningful touch. Picture: Allan Reinikka ROK060919atrudi1

This is why you shouldn’t drive tired

TRUDI Maxwell didn't think she was tired, so she drove.

She was wrong. It was a mistake that almost put her in her grave at age 25.

She'd just completed her third 12-hour work day in a row and was driving from Yeppoon to Keppel Sands where her family were camping for Easter.

But she didn't make it there.

Driving on Emu Park Road she was close to the Koorana Crocodile Farm when she fell asleep at the wheel.

Her car left the road, crashed into a tree and rolled.

"It was actually that bad, the battery that was at the front of the car was in the dash and I still have scars on my hands today from the battery acid," Trudi said of the crash that night.

Trudi's accident was 14 years ago, and although grateful to be alive, she still suffers today from that fateful night.

"During the crash I suffered severe concussion and two weeks after I was released from hospital, I suffered a major stroke. After the stroke I also developed epilepsy," she said.

"I lost five years of my memory and I can't remember the birth of my daughter.

"I also lost the use of the right side of my body and I had to learn how to talk and walk properly again.

"And apparently even my voice sounds different all these years later."

Trudi Maxwell's car left the road, crashed into a tree and rolled after she fell asleep at the wheel. Picture: Contributed
Trudi Maxwell's car left the road, crashed into a tree and rolled after she fell asleep at the wheel. Picture: Contributed

Trudi's story is one she tells youngsters in her job as co-ordinator of the Braking the Cycle program which has been in operation at Rockhampton's PCYC since 2016.

Through the program, young people are assisted by volunteers or mentors like Trudi who help them achieve the 100 hours of driving with an instructor, which is required to get their licence.

"It's a free program and I've actually got a waiting list at the moment of over 60, so it's a really popular program," Trudi said.

"Kids who get involved may be struggling to get their 100 hours up.

"They may be in residential care, their parents may not have their licences or even the nerve to be able to help them, or even can't afford the insurance and we're finding that a lot lately."

Trudi shares her crash experience with the youth she works with in the hope they learn about the dangers of driving while fatigued.

"I show the kids the photos of my crash and I still have the newspaper clipping from it. It's just something that hits home, this affected my whole life' ... one of those things that you don't ever want to wish on anyone."

A close-up of the damage. Picture: Contributed
A close-up of the damage. Picture: Contributed

The major supporter of the Braking the Cycle program in Rockhampton is the All Classic Motor Club which purchased two vehicles for the organisation.

"Without that support, this program would not exist," Trudi said.

The All Classic Motor Club along with CQ Motoring Sporting Club, No Limit Ute Club, Capricorn Dirt Riders Rockhampton, and Fitzroy Fourbies were part of a meet-and-greet car show recently at the PCYC which brought the curtain down on Road Safety Week.

At that event, Evolution Training among others conducted demonstrations that promoted road safety awareness, allowing audience members to observe a vehicle hitting a barrier at various speeds and measuring how far the vehicle travelled at different speeds.

For those in attendance, it was a real eye opener.



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