Posted on 12 Nov 2021
Robyn Sykes was about to pull into her son’s Bannockburn driveway on 7 March last year when her life changed drastically.
It was 7.30am and she was going to pick up her grandson at her son’s Midland Highway house to look after him for the day.
Ms Sykes, from nearby Teesdale, checked the revision mirror of her Nissan Patrol and saw that there was plenty of time for the two cars that had just exited the roundabout behind her to see her brake lights and indicator on before reaching her. She shifted her attention to the oncoming traffic that she had to give way to before turning into her son’s driveway.
An almighty bang followed as a car travelling about 100kmh behind her ploughed into the back of her vehicle.
The impact was so forceful that it broke her driver’s seat in half and pushed her into the path of another car approaching in the opposite direction. Following the second impact, she eventually came to a stop at the side of the two-lane road.
Although she was in shock, Ms Sykes recalled getting out of her car and calling for her son before she was overcome with pain.
She was rushed by ambulance to Geelong Hospital where it was confirmed that she’d sustained bulging discs in her back and neck and a serious left shoulder injury.
Ms Sykes’ car was written off and she required nine months off work while she underwent intensive rehabilitation for her injuries.
Life is far from what it used to be for the now 47-year-old.
“I’m pretty much in pain from the minute I wake up until when I go to sleep,” she said. “I still have to have treatment at least twice a week and take pain medication three times-a-day, but that doesn’t take the pain away, it just gets it to a more manageable level.”
Her movement continues to be limited, and she has been unable to return to work full-time since the crash. She has also lost a lot of the independence she once enjoyed and playing sport is no longer possible. Nor can she pursue other hobbies she used to enjoy, like renovating, because even the simple things like hanging clothes on the washing line is too painful.
Sarah Elseidy, from Slater and Gordon Lawyers, described Ms Sykes as a member of the hidden road toll: people who survived a road crash but suffered lifelong injuries and associated trauma.
“We hear so much about the number of people killed on our roads, yet for every person killed another 30 or so people are injured, and their lives are never the same as they were before,” she said. “Most of these crashes could have been avoided, which highlights why we all need to take more care on our roads.”
Ms Sykes said she hoped sharing her experience with others would help remind motorists how quickly their lives could change for the worst.
“And had my grandson Oakly have been in the car with me he would’ve been killed as his car seat was pushed out the window on impact,” she said. “That’s something that still haunts me to this day.”
Andrea Petrie on 0428 994 937