IF STEPHEN and Roslyn Hughes were only 20 metres further into their journey along the Capricorn Hwy, they wouldn't be alive to tell the story of their brush with death.
The couple from the Sunshine Coast was travelling from Rockhampton to Emerald on April 5 to visit their son and were towing a caravan.
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"Just before Gogango about 12.15pm we were doing 100kmh in a 110 zone when an oncoming truck lost a truck tyre from its load and the tyre landed in our lane about 20 metres in front of us," Stephen recalled.
"There was no option to drive around the tyre so I tried to go over it while applying the brakes but it bounced up into the front of our Pajero."
Stephen said the impact smashed the front of the vehicle and set off both front air bags, blew out both rear windows, the front headlight was pushed about 450mm into the engine bay and substantial damage was done to the engine.
But by the time they had got out of the vehicle the truck was out of sight.
Stephen said the bill could top $50,000 worth of damage if the vehicle was written off.
"If I had been 20 metres closer to the vehicle in front or if the tyre had fallen a third of a second later the tyre would have landed on our bonnet and killed us," he said.
"My wife and I think that in the circumstances we were extremely lucky to survive.
"What we are having trouble understanding is how a truck driver can choose to drive at 110kmh with a loose tyre in his load. Isn't it compulsory to have everything tied down?
"When a 50kg truck tyre hits your vehicle at a combined speed of over 200kmh it is very very lucky that no one was killed."
The most important thing the couple wanted to stress was how grateful they were to those who stopped and helped get them off the road after the incident.