The Limestone Coast region of South Australia attracts a lot of visitors, especially over summer. After Christmas Day is when the stupity on the roads increases, along with the increase in traffic. I’ve been taking a trip out for the past few days, to my local beach, and have really noticed the difference.
Yesterday, shortly after heading onto the Highway past my front gate, a vehicle travelling the opposite direction flashed headlights in warning at me. Then I saw one of the young cattle from this property on the side of the road, quite agitated and trotting about. It’s the first time I’ve known one to get out as the fencing is good. I pulled over and immediately telephoned the stock manager for the property, who of course, responded by saying he’d be right over. But I guessed it would take him at least 20 mins to get here, so I elected to stay near the beast and keep an eye on things. I had the warning lights on my car flashing, and flashed my headlights at each approaching vehicle to warn them.
I wish I could say people responded appropriately. Some did slow down once they saw the animal, who was still moving back and forth on the side of the road. And some did wave thanks to me. One woman early in the situation stopped and spoke to me. But far too many drivers, mostly those in large 4 Wheel Drives, King of the Road vehicles, kept on speeding down the road. One vehicle did actually stop just down the road, and reversed back to speak to me to check if I needed help, and while we were talking, another driver stopped briefly, then left once he was assured I wasn’t in trouble. My thanks to the blokes who took the time to check out the situation with me – yes, country blokes of course!
By this time, the animal had headed further north, towards a bend in the road, and I kept following at a slow pace, talking to it. At one point it stopped at a gateway, obviously recognising it as the way into home, but then kept going.
Much to my relief, round the bend in the road, came a police vehicle! Once they got the story from me, they went back to the bend, to warn approaching vehicles. I then ran to the gate, unlocked it, and swung it wide open, hoping that the animal would see it open and go in. The police waved their arms at the creature, who turned and came back my way, and thankfully, took the option into the paddock. Phew!
Then just as I was finalising everything, along came the stock manager……. He was grateful the situation had been dealt with, that no-one had been hurt, and went back to check the fencing and the rest of that mob, while Fred and I continued on our way to the beach.
Of course, I reflected on the fact that most people didn’t bother to stop even though I was signalling a problem. What if I had a medical emergency? Hmmm……
Then today, on my latest trip to the beach, this is what I found on the roadside…..
Yes, that’s a dead wombat. This area has warning signs about them being about, and as they are nocturnal caution is needed when driving at night. But few of the drivers I saw on the dirt road took any care in driving slower on a back road, than when driving down a highway.
Many wombats in this region are suffering from mange, a symptom of their environmental stress, but this poor creature showed no signs of it. An otherwise healthy individual who didn’t get to live out it’s life span because of some stupid driver.
I know, some locals don’t drive with a great deal of care either. But when the number of vehicles on the roads increase dramatically, the rate of road kill increases also. Please spare a thought for the other creatures who inhabit this Earth. Driving a vehicle ought to be a privilege NOT a right, as far too many people seem to think it is.
As for driving when under the influence of alcohol or drugs – WELL! Don’t get me started on the high rate of drug use in this area – especially prevelant is the drug known as Ice – and one of the characteristics of that drug is the rise in aggressive behaviour. As exhibited by so many drivers…….
And it’s only the start of summer…………