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An Australian man who tried to hitch a ride home beneath a tractor-trailer after a night of drinking ended up nearly 250 miles away after his plan went awry.
The 43-year-old man — who cops did not identify — was lucky to survive a perilous journey in which he rode for hundreds of miles on metal racks suspended about three feet above the pavement, according to ABC News in Australia.
The rig’s driver, Pardeep Dahiya, told the outlet he was running freight from Sydney to Brisbane when he stopped at about 1:30 a.m. last Friday for a short nap.
He set off again about an hour later and noticed that something wasn’t quite right.
“When it started to get light, I could see in my mirrors a piece of orange cloth under my trailer,” he said.
He eventually stopped to check out the odd flapping material — and that’s when he saw the man climbing off the metal grates stored under the truck, ABC said.
“When I saw that I took two steps back thinking, ‘What is it?’,” Dahiya said. “That’s very different for me. It’s very new … I can’t imagine anyone getting in underneath the trailer.”
The stunned driver took pity on the windswept man and let him ride in the cab for a bit. But eventually, Dahiya decided to call the cops from a service station.
The man told officers that he’d climbed onto the grates, hoping he could get a short ride home. When he got near, he planned to just hop off at a red light, according to the outlet.
But the driver threw a wrench in his plans when he didn’t stop for nearly 250 miles, leaving the man a bit further from home than he wanted, according to Acting Inspector Peter Miles.
Authorities fined him $288, then gave him a lift to a railroad station for the long trip back.
“The truckie had a good run,” Miles said. “Old mate did not.”
But it could have been much worse, according to Queensland Trucking Association chief executive Gary Mahon.
“You’re traveling at somewhere between 90 and 100 kilometers per hour [about 60 mph] on a fairly consistent basis, and it wouldn’t take much of a slip or a lapse in concentration to have fatal consequences,” he told ABC.
“There’s bumps in the road, objects potentially flying up and hitting you, the types of speeds involved, side wind shear and all of those forces that might have affected [his] grip,” Mahon added.
“He’s an extremely fortunate person to have traveled [that far] and still be okay at the end.”