Tamworth car crash survivor Kate Swain says think when you get behind the wheel, before it’s too late

WARNING: Kate Swain and her mother Heather are urging everyone to drive safely over the holidays. Photo: Peter Hardin
WARNING: Kate Swain and her mother Heather are urging everyone to drive safely over the holidays. Photo: Peter Hardin

IT’S been twenty years since Kate Swain was involved in a car accident on Nundle Road, not far from Woolomin, but the nightmare still lives with her today.

She was only five-years-old when the car she was travelling travelling in skidded and was hit by an oncoming car. 

“The driver skidded and the road conditions weren’t great,” Ms Swain said.

“As a young passenger, I had no control over the situation.”

The accident left her a T2 paraplegic, paralysed from the chest down, while the driver was injured and another passenger passed away.

She’s hoping her story can act as a warning to everyone travelling the roads during the holiday period.

“Your actions can have a life-changing impact on someone else,” Ms Swain said.

“My life has changed even though someone else was behind the wheel.

“You don’t think about what can happen until it’s too late.”

Ms Swain says her accident is at the forefront of her mind every time she gets behind the wheel of her car and is a passionate advocate for safe driving.

“I always think, if i have an accident, I could be seriously impacting other people,” she said.

“I am very much about being a selfless driver. Don’t be selfish on the roads. Drive safely for yourself and other people. Don’t die for your deadline.”

Fairfax Media has partnered with the NSW government to promote the “Survive the Drive” campaign, encouraging drivers to rethink their actions.

NSW Roads Minister Melinda Pavey said country people were disproportionately represented in the road toll.

Two-thirds of the state’s road accident fatalities occur in rural and regional areas, despite people in country NSW only making up one-third of the state’s population.

“Of those 354 fatal crashes, 272 of those fatalities occurred in regional NSW,” Ms Pavey said.

“We are one third of people but constantly two-thirds of fatalities. It’s not just about road and road quality it’s about driver behaviour.”

My life has changed even though someone else was behind the wheel. You don’t think about what can happen until it’s too late.

Car accident survivor, Kate Swain

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