Serious crash highlights importance of seatbelts
Troy Costello was less than 1km away from home when he fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a tree.
He ended up in hospital for 10 days with a broken pelvis and severe bruising to his chest.
Costello had been driving along Auckland’s Campbell Rd to his home in Onehunga from Muriwai on the morning of May 9.
He said he fell asleep about 5.30am.
Costello did not remember how fast he was driving but thinks he woke up when the car hit the curb.
‘‘I must have nodded off and drifted to the right of the road and then hit the tree,’’ he said.
The 39-year-old builder felt lucky to not have killed anyone, including himself, in the crash.
‘‘Two inches either way and I would have been dead and if someone else was in the car they would have too.
‘‘The seatbelt is the only reason I’m alive today.’’
He spent 10 days in hospital where he was treated for a broken pelvis and bruising to his chest.
The NZTA said crashes from driver fatigue were among the most severe on the road.
In 2015, fatigue was identified as a contributing factor in 42 fatal crashes, 119 serious injury crashes and 450 minor injury crashes.
Fatigue slows reflexes and affects concentration and decision making.
Costello said he was unable to work for six weeks and his work ute was written off.
While Costello recovered in hospital his vehicle remained on Campbell Rd until he was able to be released and pick it up, causing some residents to question the abandoned ute.
Costello said he was grateful to be alive.
‘‘If you’re dozing off, pull over, close your eyes because before you know it you can have death staring at you in the face.’’
Get a good night’s sleep before driving
Avoid driving during the hours when you would normally be sleeping
Share the driving where possible
Avoid alcohol and drugs
When taking long trips, plan your journey to include rest breaks
Snack on light fresh foods, not sugary and fatty foods
If you feel yourself getting tired, pull over and take a break
Troy Costello feels lucky to be given another chance at life.