Crash sparks warning for elderly road users

UPDATE WEDNESDAY 9.20AM: A spokesperson from Melbourne's Alfred Hospital has said the man was in a "critical condition" this morning.

EARLIER: POLICE are encouraging families to monitor the driving abilities of their elderly loved ones after a man involved in a car crash was airlifted to hospital. 

The New South Wales man, 83, was driving along the Bendigo-Maryborough Road in Laanecoorie when his sedan collided with a truck yesterday about 2pm.  

Goldfields Highway Patrol Senior Constable Bill Edwards said the car and truck collided on a sharp bend about 32 kilometres from Bendigo. 

"The sedan was travelling in an easterly direction and the elderly driver has possibly fallen asleep or inadvertently veered onto the wrong side of the road," he said. 

"The truck driver has moved over to try and avoid the collision but unfortunately the centre of impact was in the centre of the west-bound lane.

"The car has collided with the rear wheel of the semi trailer." 

Senior Constable Edwards said Country Fire Authority and State Emergency Service crews took about an hour and a half to free the elderly man from his vehicle. 

He said the man sustained injuries to his neck and arms, and suffered shock and heat exhaustion. 

Ambulance Victoria spokeswoman Gabrielle Degenhardt said the driver was airlifted to The Alfred hospital in a serious but stable condition. 

Senior Constable Edwards said the truck driver suffered shock and was severely shaken by the incident. 

"This is something that every person needs to be aware of if they have elderly people in their family," he said. 

"They need to do the hard thing and sit down and have a discussion with them to see how they are going in regards to their driving abilities.

"Then they should go for a drive with them to see how they are on the road.

"Their reflexes are not as quick as they used to be and the traffic on the roads these days and the conditions...in a blink of an eye it can turn into a tragedy.

"It's easy to avoid." 

madeleine.wines@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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