It was a sunny afternoon on the first day of spring, and Bendigo man Chris Braden was heading home from work.
Mr Braden worked for Goulburn-Murray Water as a recreation and land operations officer based at Lake Eppalock, so he travelled back to his Spring Gully home along Strathfieldsaye Road.
On Friday, September 1 he was driving a brand new work vehicle equipped with a dash camera his in-laws had given him just a few weeks earlier.
Mr Braden knew the intersection with Longlea Lane and Axe Creek Road had seen bad crashes before, so he each time he slowed down and checked no one is going to enter from either side.
But on this day, things went wrong.
Two cars approached from the right and paused, before the first vehicle continued moving out onto Strathfieldsaye Road, into the path of Mr Braden’s vehicle.
“My recollections of the accident are having looked to the left, which is the last place I looked as I then looked back down the road, caught the vehicle on my right-hand side out of my peripheral vision as it collected the back of my truck,” Mr Braden said.
“It caused the truck to go end over end, and I can distinctly remember counting as I went over, and I got up to two, and the next thing was when the vehicle came to a stop.”
The vehicle actually rolled end over end twice, then rolled about three times sideways.
Mr Braden said he did not think he lost consciousness, but he does not remember the airbags going off, only the “sheer violence” of the collision.
Incredibly, given the force of the incident, Mr Braden escaped with relatively minor injuries: a gash to the head, whiplash and back pain.
He is expected to make a slow return to work, but a full recovery.
The other driver emerged relatively unscathed.
“Immediately after the accident, while being very sore, I felt myself extremely lucky to have survived what could have been a potentially fatal accident,” Mr Braden said.
“We’re also very lucky in that the other person involved in the accident also seemed to be in one piece.”
Mr Braden and Goulburn-Murray Water have released the footage of the crash along with a road safety message in an effort to keep other drivers on country roads safe.
He said one lesson learnt from the crash was the importance of securing items in the car, so they could not become missiles in the case of a crash.
Mr Braden said the new, five-star ANCAP-rated vehicle with its extensive safety features “definitely” contributed to his escape.
The importance of driving defensively is another message to which Mr Braden hopes road users will pay heed.
He said having headlights on was a simple measure that could make road users more visible, and when work took people out on the road, they should share information about blackspots with their colleagues.
The dashcam footage proved beneficial, he said, because it explained how the crash had occurred.