Looking back on tragedy

Zac Rice witnessed a road crash in 2012, just outside of Gawler, an event that forever changed his attitude to life and his use of the road.

Four years ago, Mr Rice was travelling back to his home at Gawler, near Angle Vale, when he came across an accident where a truck had collided with another vehicle.

“(It was) one of the first experiences I had on the road, it was me and a friend moving down one of the main roads off of Gawler, and we found a truck had collided with an XL,” he said.

“All I know was that the driver of the truck was in deep shock and definitely worried about the circumstance because the car had come out of nowhere.”

Mr Rice said such a scene was a horror for everyone, regardless of how they were involved.

“Whether you’re a civilian or a person in the crash, it’s shocking to see,” he said.

“(Especially) when you’re looking at someone who has the bonnet of the car legitimately pressed up to where their waist would be and they cannot move.

“It affects more than one person.”

While at the scene, Mr Rice and his friend went through a range of emotions, but that all changed quickly as both of them were concerned for the people involved.

“For me I went into the mode of worrying about both parties; for myself it’s shock but it’s a feeling of disillusion, it doesn’t feel realistic, it doesn’t feel like its really happening but it is, so you become more concerned with the environment around you,” Mr Rice said.

“Later, away from the situation, you begin to unwind a bit and that’s when you really do think about more of a sympathetic view than empathetic, if it could be someone you knew.

“The friend I was with at the time was quite shocked by it (the accident).”

Mr Rice reflected on the situation in a personal way, imagining if he was in the same situation.

“What really hits home is that it’s something that seems so significant at the time, but if I made that choice, my family would never see me again, let alone I wouldn’t be able to see my family, my brothers, my sisters and my friends,” he said.

Following the accident, Mr Rice noticed a change in his driving and how he approached using the road.

Despite his education, he said now he was a more cautious driver.

“I have never been an overly risky driver myself because I’ve been educated from a parent who’s worked in the transport industry and seen a lot of misfortune on the roads,” he said.

“But it’s definitely a lot more caution now towards the fact you become very strict that you won’t even let yourself have one beer, even though it’s legal.”

REMEMBERING: Gawler's Zac Rice witnessed a fatal accident near the town in 2012. The experience changed his approach to life and driving.

REMEMBERING: Gawler's Zac Rice witnessed a fatal accident near the town in 2012. The experience changed his approach to life and driving.

This story Looking back on tragedy first appeared on Barossa & Light Herald.