We just want motorists to be more aware of the effects this sort of tragedy has on those involved, who attend and the wider public.- Craig Merry
There's no comfort in a familiar face for those first on the scene of a fatal crash.
The region's first responders have seen seven lives lost on south-west roads so far this year, compared to four at the same time in 2022.
South-west police road safety adviser Acting Senior Sergeant Craig Merry said in regional areas there was always the "heart-breaking" chance of arriving at a crash scene to find a loved one.
"We tend to really know the community we're working within and that means we can come across someone we know," he said.
It was a sad reality for the police officer of 18 years, who was once first on the scene of a head-on crash involving a family member.
"When someone passes away or is seriously injured it ripples through that whole community," Acting Senior Sergeant Merry said.
"Emergency services attend these situations quite regularly and we just want motorists to be more aware of the effects this sort of tragedy has on those involved, who attend and the wider public."
South-west police will on Friday switch their head lights on to raise awareness for road trauma.
It's part of the Shine a Light on Road Safety campaign run by Amber Community, a charity on a mission to reduce the number of people seriously injured and killed on the road.
"All members of western region division two police (which encompasses Warrnambool, Moyne, Southern Grampians, Corangamite and Glenelg) will have their headlights on as a show of support and we're asking the community to get involved too," Acting Senior Sergeant Merry said.
"We've lost seven people since the start of the year and it's important to re-emphasise the fact that people need to take care on the roads and be aware of the fatal five offences of speeding, impaired driving, failure to wear a seatbelt, fatigue and distraction."
Warrnambool police highway patrol unit commander Sergeant Lisa McRae said driver error, resulting from distraction, inattention and fatigue, were suspected to be the leading causes of fatal collisions.
"A simple lapse in concentration can have catastrophic consequences so its imperative all road users remain alert, particularly when travelling on highs-peed rural roads," she said.
"Don't be complacent. Nobody is immune from road trauma and it can happen to anybody, anytime."
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