Thankfully, Tyron Pawsey was wide awake as he headed off to work in the dark from his Sandy Point home one morning in early December.
There, running down the road in front of his car was a mother koala with a joey on her back.
The mother koala froze under the headlights.
Mr Pawsey jumped out of his car and took a quick photo from a distance before trying to encourage the "mum and bub" to move off the road.
"It was almost like a stand-off," he said. "Eventually, I clapped my hands and they disappeared into the bush.
The incident occurred about 5am in St George Crescent, about 50 metres from Heathcote Road, where several koalas have been fatally injured by vehicles in the last few years.
Mr Pawsey said he saw another koala in the same location about three or four months ago.
He has lived in Sandy Point for a total of 40 years, initially as a child and then moving back in 2015.
"Growing up as a kid, I don't recall seeing koalas around here, but during the last seven years I have seen five," he said.
"A couple of years ago there was one in a tree, only about two metres off the ground."
"There have been a lot more sightings than that, based on social media reports."
His theory is that development has reduced the amount of bushland koalas previously had available in which to roam.
Mr Pawsey said he was sharing his photo and experience as a caution to other motorists driving on Heathcote Road.
He supports calls by environmental groups for wildlife crossings of the busy road.
"I think anything that can be done to help animals cross safely is a good idea," he said.
"Even reducing the present speed limit through Sandy Point from 80km/h to 60km/h is worth considering."
Tony Browne, who is the uncle of Mr Pawsey's wife, is also keen to see action to protect koalas on Heathcote Road.
Mr Browne drives from his Heathcote home to work at Moorebank daily.
"Over the last two months, I have seen two dead koalas beside the road," he said.
"They seem to be removed quickly. I don't know who does it."
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.