Andrew Clark had driven the Sunshine Coast Motorway twice daily for two years, but on June 25, 2002, it was different – suddenly he came upon an accident with a car in flames and people trapped in their vehicles.
He went into automatic mode and joined a group of other helpers to pull victims from the flames.
"You don't really have time to think – you just do it," Mr Clark recalls. "You wouldn't do it if you thought too much about it, except I did feel that if I was in this predicament I hope someone would be trying to pull me out.
"The thing that has stuck in my head since is how quickly it all seemed to happen - on the one hand it seemed so surreal and everything seemed to be in slow motion but it was all over very quickly. It was a strange sort of a sensation.
"Another thing that really stuck was the fact that there were a lot of people who were on the scene before I was who just turned their cars around and drove away – didn't stop, didn't look – just turned around and off they went.
"If people can't take time out to help someone else there's not much hope for us is there? "Never walk away from someone who's in need," he says. "You could be the next person involved. If it was you or your family you'd be hoping someone would pull up and give them a hand.
As an official with the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, Mr Clark had been working on the Sunshine Coast while living in Brisbane, hence the daily motorway trips.
Until the accident.
"For a while afterwards I avoided the spot. I wasn’t having nightmares or anything but it had more of an effect on me than I thought it would. Weeks afterwards I was still dwelling on it a bit, so I tried to avoid it for a while.
"It's still actually etched into my memory pretty well, the whole thing. I didn't seek any counselling, but I have a lot of friends and family who I spoke to about it and they were pretty supportive.
Of his award of the Commendation for Brave Conduct – one of three from the same event – Mr Clark says he was "as proud as punch".