Friday, April 17, 2015

Day 2018 - Driving in the dark

It's a long dark road ....

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Lately I've been doing more and more pre-dawn runs from Canberra to Sydney. Or more specifically, Goulburn to Sydney (as I prefer to overnight at my parents just to make the long dark road that little bit shorter).

Tahlia's getting more and more opportunity in Sydney and the call time is usually 9.00am.  It's all very exciting.  

I imagine it would be quite easy peasy if we lived in the big smoke but it gets a little more complicated when we live three hours away.

I'm not complaining. Luckily I'm an early bird and I love to drive. Plus Tahlia's enthusiasm and commitment to her dream gives me the energy to take to the roads. 

But this driving in the dark business is a little daunting.  

Strange things happen in the dark.  

The pre-dawn road is long.  

The pre-dawn road is mysterious. 

The pre-dawn road is shadowed.  

The pre-dawn road has a way of "putting monsters under my bed."

As this post hits the blogosphere we'll be on our way to Sydney again.  A 9.00am shoot means a 6.00am departure from Goulburn to ensure we account for traffic, finding the location and getting a car park.  In fact, we often leave at 5.30 to play it safe.  You never know when a traffic accident, road works or plain old Sydney bottle neck may occur so we'd prefer to have extra time up our sleeves at the other end and drink chai, than panic and turn up flustered and late.

As I drive in the pre-dawn silence I have time to ponder.  (Teenage girls tend to have plugs in their ears which doesn't make for easy pre-dawn conversation.)

There are things I have noticed on the road at that time of the day.  Things you don't necessarily see in the full daylight hours.
  • Trucks are bigger in the dark and their lights give them very distinct personalities. Some look happy and gentle, others look downright evil. 
  • Trucks are getting longer with most now having two trailers and when you see two or three in a row you start to wonder if you've accidentally crossed onto the railway tracks
  • Pre-dawn kangaroos are like roo bombs that could explode onto the road at any moment
  • Pre-dawn shadows look like monsters, ghosts and the aforementioned roo bombs
  • Once you use your high beams your normal lights will never be good enough again
  • Your normal lights only reach a few metres in front which makes you even warier of roo bombs
  • Not all people are on top of the whole high beam etiquette and you can be blinded in an instant.  
  • There are lots of people on the road before dawn which makes you wonder when the world actually sleeps
  • It's great to see lots of cars in rest areas at this time of day suggesting people actually do "stop, revive and survive" (or lots of people are having car-romping-affairs)
  • It's very very cold just before the sun rises.
  • It's very very dark just before the sun rises.
  • The breaking of dawn is both a relief and a tad scary as the monsters change shape, the ghosts come to life and you see just how many roo bombs there actually are in the paddocks beside the road.
  • No matter how early you get up, nor how carefully you plan your trip, you will always have to slow down when you hit Campbelltown because there is no such things as "beating the traffic" when it comes to Sydney.
  • That chai at the end of the line is well deserved yet makes me wonder why the hell I don't drink coffee.

Without a doubt freeways are a night traveler's best friend.  It would be way more hazardous on a two way highway or little back road. However it's still a long, dark road ...

So as I drive into the blackness I wonder, just how many people are out there doing this on a regular basis?  

Who are the people in the cars alongside me?

What is their story?

How often do you take the long dark road? 



  1. I actually get really anxious driving in the dark- I shouldn't as I do it all the time. You'd think I'd be used to it. Trucks freak me out a bit- they're just so big!

  2. I get really anxious travelling on the freeway full stop (and I'm only the passenger!) "We" (and that's the royal "we") drove to Canberra last weekend - it's a fair old distance. It's the trucks that get me, they're so big and they're invaders of space! Drive safe and happy weekend!

  3. I loathe night driving! I must have my high-beams on so that I can see all the animals at the side of the road...
    It is to be avoided at all costs so I get Husband to do it.

  4. I find night driving a good time to think. It is quiet and the road is long. However I have to say I don't do it all the time so kudos to you! What a great mum

  5. When we head away camping, we often need to leave very early in the morning and the trucks appear from nowhere. I hate driving with trucks in the dark as I find it more difficult to judge the distance.

  6. We are planning a driving trip back to NSW from Perth and it will mean lots of early morning starts. I'm nervous about that to say the least, especially with all the roos on the road.

    I don't know how you do it.

  7. Wow, you are impressive doing that run so often. I would get nervous too! I don't like long stretches of motorway, makes me nervous!!

  8. I'm heading to Canberra tomorrow for the weekend - my most important thing is snacks - lots and lots of snacks. And water. After that I set cruise control and crank up the radio. Of late though I have also taken to stopping in Berrima or Bowral for a coffee and a wee browse in the stores before hitting the road for the last stretch, in either direction. Makes it more do-able :)


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