‘Thought I would die’ – Sophie caught out by Berkeley M1 wrong-way driver

A woman who became the victim of an elderly wrong-way driver on the M1 at Berkeley says she thought she would die in the collision. 

Sophie Kinnane, 24, was en route to lunch in the Kangaroo Valley Sunday morning, travelling 100km/h, when a man believed aged 93 attempted a U-turn up ahead. 

She had little time to react before her car slammed into the side of the man’s red Mitshubishi Lancer. 

“I saw a glimpse that he was stopped [in the shoulder] but then all of a sudden he’s just in front of me,” Ms Kinanne told the Mercury.

“I thought I was going to die.”

Ms Kinnane’s dashcam was operating as the collision occurred.

It shows the Lancer parked on the shoulder of the southbound lanes, with the Nan Tien Temple in view up ahead. 

The Lancer then turns sharply right, crossing two lanes before it almost collides with a gold car in the third lane. The the sounds of Ms Kinnane’s squeeling tyres and blasting horn, then crunching metal and breaking glass, the cars then collide. 

A travel agent, Ms Kinnane went to work on Monday morning only to return home a short time ago, still suffering the effects of whiplash. 

“I feel like I’m on fire in my chest and neck,” she said. 

“I’ve had to come home. I've been given tomorrow off so I can go get some physio.” 

She and the elderly man were taken by ambulance to Wollongong Hospital. 

The man suffered only a minor facial injury, according to NSW Ambulance. 

Ms Kinnane is unsure if she took any evasive action. 

“I was able to veer a bit to the left, so I didn’t impact on his driver’s side door, I got to the back of the door a bit more,” she said. 

“It’s hard to say if it [was deliberate evasive action] because I was just in the moment. I was just trying to concentrate.” 

Ms Kinnane believes the man was simply confused when he made the damaging turn. 

“He [told police] he thought he was going the wrong way so he decided to turn around, not knowing it was a one way road.

“He was in shock [afterwards]. He had a few cuts and bruises to his face.” 

Lake Illawarra Local Area Command’s Insp Paul Allman said the crash was under investigation. 

“The [Lancer] driver was extremely lucky, considering the impact,” he said. 

"Lake Illawarra police are asking motorists to take it easy in the wet weather. We’ve seen a number of incidents on the M1 motorway, both northbound and southbound. Especially around the roadworks near Nan Tien Temple.” 

“We’re just asking drivers to take it easy on the road in these wet conditions and obviously obey all the road rules.” 

Footage of the collision has been widely shared on Dash Cam Owners Australia’s Facebook page. 

Debate on the issue of elderly drivers rages on the Dashcam Owners Australia Facebook page.

Debate on the issue of elderly drivers rages on the Dashcam Owners Australia Facebook page.

There, debate rages on the age at which drivers should retire from the road. 

"Take that license straight off him!!!!” wrote one follower,  Julia Kozy. “A certain age and licenses should be reversed permanently – no questions asked!!”.

Others, including Ben Elliott, disagreed. 

“Punishing a person because of others of the same age bracket behaving like idiots is a knee jerk reaction. Oh wait, p-platers and anyone under 25 already have to deal with exactly that,” he wrote.