John Jose, Esperance WA
When John Jose tells you to take a break every couple of hours, he knows what he’s talking about.
A regional transport officer with the Department of Transport, when he’s not helping to manage Esperance and Hopetoun harbours conducting marine and public vehicle safety checks, John’s a driving assessor for people applying for a licence.
“Get out of the car and get some fresh air and stimulate your brain, and then have a real break from the driving,” he says.
Don't over plan, don't try to do too much in one day and keep the conversation flowing is his advice for safer road trips.
When John began managing the Esperance Driver Reviver site 11 years ago, police pulled cars over and encouraged drivers to have a cuppa, a snack and a rest while they conducted roadworthy checks on their car.
“One time, we were standing out on the highway flagging vehicles down waving our arms around and wearing fluorescent coats, and this car went roaring past. By the time he stopped, he was another 200 metres down the road.
We just said: ‘You're exactly the person we want to stop – unresponsive to the point that we had to jump out of the way and it took you 200 metres to pull over!’.’’
Over a cuppa, the driver realised the dangerous state he had been in.
Thankfully no harm was done in that case. However, crashes are common in the area.
“After the summer holidays when I carry out my service runs, I see lots of tracks going off into the bush where people have driven off the road and crashed,” John says.
Located about 75km from the town of Esperance, our site is “right in that danger zone”.
“People have been driving six, seven hours from Perth, and that final leg into town is where all the accidents happen.”
The site already has a picnic and camping area and now a new toilet block too.
The Driver Reviver volunteers take all other supplies in with them each time they’re open. “It's a big commitment because it takes half a day in preparation and then another half day packing it all away”.
John has recently suggested installing an art project at the site to encourage motorists to stop, possibly even running an annual competition like the well-known Tin Horse Highway in Kulin WA. So the incentive to take a break from driving is there and the site “will be working even when our volunteers can’t be there”.