15th, April 1974
Before the Crash
The overview route before the crash… In September 2003 I, Allan Ivarsson, was driving in the last section of my journey home after visiting a bookshop in Castle Hill Sydney along Prospect Highway, heading towards the A44 Great Western Highway on my way home to Cambridge Park Western Sydney. There was a traffic congestion slowdown to at one point stopped by Traffic Lights, before entering the crossover towards A44 and M4 Western Motorway. Not far from Blacktown Region, which I had passed by a few minutes earlier.
Since 2003 the road layouts have changed constantly around Sydney. I miss the old Sydney I grew up in during the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s. It was an easier more relaxed lifestyle before highway crossovers were created to speed up traffic flow moving around North, South, East and West of Sydney. Modernization might be clever and look great at times, but it lacks the character of the Old Sydney I knew. Back in the 1960’s the West was all rural country territory with country style towns to visit; by the 1980’s rural land had gradually vanished, replaced by suburb after suburb, and thousands of us who lived in the inner city of Sydney suburbs in our youth were forced to move out further West to buy a home. By 2020, even the West was now a vast suburban extension of inner Sydney suburbs.
The situation just before the crash… My white 1995 Toyota Rav4 Car came to a standstill, in bumper-to-bumper traffic, three lanes wide. I was the last car to arrive in the right-hand lane. On the right-hand side of the main road, three lanes of vehicular traffic were moving forward at legal speed limit. [This three-lane location no longer exists. By 2020 it has been replaced by a two-lane Prospect Highway and is still being upgraded further as I write in 2021.]
I always stop behind the vehicle in front using a car-length parking space. Likewise, the vehicles stopped in front of me did the same.
Looking in my rear-view mirror, I saw in the distance a large Landcruiser with Bull Bars approximately one kilometre behind me in the right-hand lane, driving forward towards me. It was travelling at a speed of eighty k’s.
As it moved closer towards me, I realised it was not slowing down, I only had seconds to decide on what to do… I looked to the right with the oncoming traffic flowing fast, I instinctively knew I could not safely get out of my car to cross the road. I decided to stay in the car and take the hit, as I looked in the rear-view mirror, I saw the guy in the Landcruiser suddenly brake when he saw too late all the vehicles stopped in front of him in three lanes. I looked ahead, and sat calm, I knew panic was self-destructive. I sat relaxed and waited. He hit the back of my car with such force, my car was pushed into the back of the car in front, which in turn was pushed into the back of the car in front. Four cars were damaged in front to back collision. Though because of his Bull Bars the Landcruiser only suffered minor damage.
Upon impact the force was so intense all my windows shattered glass flew everywhere, I was lucky the glass did not hit me. My front right hand-side door was buckled, I could not get out of the car. Another male driver came forward from the front row of cars and pull my door as I pushed, eventually my door opened, and I got out of the car. I was not injured, no bruises, no cuts. I did not experience whiplash injury because I had sat calmly relaxed in my driver seat. The car was a write-off. Upon inspection later, the chassis underneath was twisted.
The two cars in front were small cars. And the car in front of me was driven by a lady. I thought to myself, “Being there at that moment of impact was bad luck for me, but it was fortunate that I was there. If that Landcruiser had hit that small car with the force it hit me, the lady in front might have been critically injured or killed. Her car was so small and would have been crushed by the impact.” As it was, her car suffered back and front damage, and the car in front of her suffered rear damage.
I thanked my ‘God of Creation’, my mentor, for teaching me in 1970, to be the ‘Eye of Calm in a Storm’, and for guiding me to learn ‘Positive Mental Attitude’. If I had failed to sit calmly when I knew the Landcruiser was going to hit me, I would have been injured by stress and tension. Fortunately, these instincts existed within me, when I was caught in a rip being pulled out to sea, years earlier in 1967.
The moral of this story is not only the obvious of “pay attention when you are driving” but equally as important, be patient, and always be the ‘Eye of Calm in a Storm’. There is no guarantee that calm will save us from death, but our chances/opportunity to survive is far greater, if we do not panic, and stay calmly alert.
Because of my inner peace and positive mental attitude, I have never suffered from depression or writer’s block. And I always teach since 1984, ‘Think Safety, Think Survive’. In my younger years during the 1970’s I did not always think safety, I took some risks, obsessed with challenge, which I learned was unwise. I learned through experience and self-evaluation there is a fine red line between courage and stupidity, being brave is only physically essential when you have no choice to save life. Taking risks just for the challenge might be courageous but it is also foolish and stupid.
Ps… I was lucky, I was able to buy another white 1995 RAV4 second-hand car in first class condition and low mileage at a fair price that had been driven by an elderly lady that sold it for a smaller car. Thus, my mentor ‘God of Creation’ had guided me to the right location to buy a good car replacement, which served me well for another ten years, before I gave it to one of my sons.
My replacement Toyota RAV4 which I gave my son Daniel Houston in 2013
Daniel Photo June 2014