Losing control on the Hume Freeway, a truck driver went through two sets of wire rope barriers and across oncoming traffic, before he was stopped by a third barrier - which may have saved his life.
Paul Roberts had been doing his usual Melbourne to Sydney trip in his B-double truck in July when he had a coughing fit and lost control of the vehicle.
He appeared in Wodonga Magistrates Court on Tuesday to admit his crime of careless driving.
Roberts was travelling north at 4.30pm, going 100 km/h, when he lost control and veered to the right.
The police prosecutor told the court the truck firstly hit the wire rope barrier next to the northbound lanes and skidded across the median strip.
It then went through the next set of wire barriers, across the southbound lanes - where there was luckily no oncoming traffic - and finally stopped when it hit a third set of wire barriers over the far side of the southbound lanes.
"Fortunately there was no traffic travelling in the other direction and no collision," the prosecutor said.
MORE NEWS FROM COURT:
The Black Trans Express truck was transporting milk goods, but the crash did not ruin the load as the wire barriers prevented the truck from tipping over.
Roberts was later interviewed by police and explained why he lost control.
"I was having something to eat as I was driving, I had a coughing fit and blacked out. I'd had a chest infection for weeks," he told police.
Roberts represented himself in court on Tuesday without a lawyer.
"My negligence was I didn't get to the doctor and sort my chest infection out," he said.
"After the accident I took time off work and went to the doctor, made sure I sorted everything out."
He said a tracker installed in the truck by Black Trans Express proved he was travelling at the 100km/h speed limit set for trucks.
The truck was damaged, but was able to be fixed.
Roberts told magistrate Peter Dunn that his record showed he otherwise had a good driving history.
"But for the wire barriers, you would have been in the trees," Mr Dunn said.
"What would have happened if there were no wire barriers?"
"I'd probably be dead, I'd say," Roberts replied.
"The truck was still in the upright position.
"The barriers were very effective in what they had to do."
But for the wire barriers, you would have been in the trees.Magistrate Peter Dunn
Mr Dunn placed him on a 12-month good behaviour bond, with the condition he donate $500 to the court fund.
"You're very lucky in many regards," he said.
Regional Roads Victoria is nearing the end of its $107 million project to roll out 900 kilometres of the wire barriers on the Hume Freeway.
Statistics revealed the barriers had been struck 250 times between January and August.