It only takes a second of inattention on the road for a life to be cut short.
Isaac Roberts was a happy young man with a bright future ahead of him, but a month ago the 21-year-old died suddenly after working a night shift in Ararat.
On his way home to Maryborough, Isaac fell asleep behind the wheel at Amphitheatre. His car veered off the road and crashed into a tree about 6am on April 25.
He had completed more than half of the journey when the crash occurred at an intersection of the Pyrenees Highway, near Gledhills Lane. Sadly, Isaac died at the scene.
His brother, Alex, distinctly remembers the moment he received the call that his 'best mate' had died.
"It is a conversation I'll remember for the rest of my life," Alex told The Courier.
His family and friends have been devastated by Isaac's tragic death.
"It's shattered all of us and hit us all really hard. It hasn't been easy - it has been a big blow," Alex said.
Growing up in Maryborough, Isaac was one of three sons to parents Sue and Bill. Isaac was the middle child - between older brother Alex and younger brother Macarthur. They grew up kicking the soccer ball to each other and as they grew older the siblings became inseparable.
Attending high school at St Patrick's College in Ballarat, after graduating Isaac jumped straight into the workforce. In 2019, aged 18, Isaac married his wife, Niratchada.
Recently he had started working in security. He worked long hours, including night shifts, as he was saving to buy a house so he and his wife could start a family.
Describing Isaac as a "big friendly giant", his brother remembered him as a kind and caring person who valued family above all else.
"He was the sort of person that would help anyone. He'd give you the shirt off his back if you needed it."
He visited his family often, including his niece Charli, who he would play with for hours every week.
"Isaac loved his family. There weren't many times he was happier than when he had all his family together and everyone was enjoying themselves," Alex said.
Isaac was also an avid weightlifter, loved strength training and even competed in competitions. It was a hobby he shared with his brother, too.
Alex said his brother touched everyone he met in a different way and nobody ever had a bad word to say about him.
"Everyone loved him. He's left a huge hole that will never be filled."
Driver fatigue is a known contributor to road trauma, with Transport Accident Commission data indicating it is a factor in up to 20 per cent of road crashes in Victoria. The five-year average reveals fatigue is a factor in about 30 deaths and approximately 200 serious injuries each year.
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Highway Patrol Senior Sergeant Stuart Gale told The Courier last week that fatigue, inattention and impairment were major factors in the region's road trauma.
TAC Head of Road Safety, Samantha Cockfield, also told The Courier last week that drowsy driving was one of the biggest killers on the roads yet was "entirely preventable".
"We see too many people dying or suffering lifelong injuries because they kept driving without breaks, or got behind the wheel on minimal rest. Driving after just three hours' sleep makes you ten times more likely to be involved in an accident - it's more risky than being above the legal blood alcohol limit."
Alex urged people not to drive while fatigued, to prevent other families suffering through the pain his family has.
"Just don't push through. You always think 'I'm buggered but I should be right to make it home' but it only takes one second and your life is gone and your family is shattered. So just don't drive tired."
Alex also encouraged people to slow down and hold their families close.
"Take a breath and spend time with your family because you never know when it will be the last time."
While a funeral service was hosted, the numbers of attendees were limited. So this weekend the family will host a memorial at the Clunes Showgrounds. Everyone who knew Isaac is invited to attend and raise their glass to him.
"Isaac loved having a drink with his mates and having a good time, so we thought this would be a way for everyone who wasn't able to attend the funeral to come and say goodbye - raise a glass and toast him," Alex said.
The memorial will take place from 3pm this Saturday. A bar and food truck will be set-up and camping will be available on site.
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