My name is Daniel Wallekers and I was 22 when I was involved in a very serious road trauma.

"I was working night shift and I was travelling to work on the 4th of March 2015. It was a hot sunny afternoon, so I was riding my motorbike to work. Unfortunately I never made it to work that day. I was involved in a collision with a car. This has changed my life forever.  Although I have no memory of the collision happening, I have been told that it wasn't my fault. I was hit at an intersection where a man made an unsafe right-hand turn in front of me and hit me.

I was lucky one of the first people at the scene of the collision was an off-duty paramedic… he saved my life; I was then taken by air to the closest hospital that would be fit to treat my serious injuries.  It doesn’t matter how experienced you are on the road, there will always be someone else who makes mistakes.  All it takes is a lack of concentration to cause a horrible outcome.

I was knocked out and in a coma for 2½ weeks. When I awoke I was suffering a traumatic brain injury and half of my body was completely paralysed.

After spending over a year at hospital recovering mentally and physically, I was then fit enough to live at home again. My life has been taken off track, from the goals I had planned, to then focusing on doing simple things, that everyone (including myself) take for granted. Road trauma has taught me to appreciate the smallest things in life. It showed me that people should always be grateful for any kind of progress they make when achieving goals. The small steps to the desired goal may seem insignificant accomplishments at the time, but they all add up and get you closer to your end goal.

I have experienced many challenges and obstacles from this traumatic event, which has now in turn, shaped me to become the person I am today. I have a deeper understanding on life in general and have been impacted so tremendously from this event that I  truly understand the meaning behind the saying ‘you can’t change things that have happened to you in your past, so just make the most out of the situation you are in now’. I wish people of all ages would understand that it only takes one poor decision that can have dreadful consequences. This could be as simple as checking your phone while driving, or even just changing a song on the radio. That time looking away from the road, for half a second, is all that it takes. The poor judgement and bad decision making from someone else was all it took for me to go through a life changing event."

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Road trauma is a serious issue in Australia that impacts thousands of individuals, families and communities every year. What can you do to play your part in reducing the toll on our community? 

Our sincere thanks to Daniel for telling his story. Follow his journey on Instagram