Wild horses a highway hazard

THEY may seem beautiful, ethereal creatures when galloping across misty mountain ranges, but there's nothing poetic about the road hazard wild horses on the highway are becoming.

A Woolgoolga woman, who does not wish to be named, came close to having an accident while driving south from Grafton when a couple of wild horses appeared on the road just two weeks ago.

The woman was driving near Halfway Creek at approximately 10.30pm when the two white, wild horses ran out in front of her vehicle.

A police vehicle on the other side of the road tried to warn oncoming drivers that the horses were there by putting on their high beams, but as the horses were white it just created a white-out, having little effect other than to blind the drivers.

Braking heavily, the woman kept her car as straight as possible under the conditions while, luckily, one horse slipped backwards while the other ran beside her driver's window, its head almost in her face.

A vehicle behind her which was about to overtake also had to brake heavily.

"I thank God the vehicle behind her was not a semi, B-double or a bus full of people," the woman's mother told The Coffs Coast Advocate.

"I have to wonder, after the many decades that this problem has been around, how many fatalities have occurred, with no one surviving to tell that these horses caused their deaths," she said.

"So many accidents have happened there, people who have died can't even say what ran them off the road, and drivers fatigue is blamed.

"Something has to be done."

The member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, agrees that something has to be done to protect motorists from the wild horses.

"With the number of vehicles using the road, the consequences of an accident, particularly if it involves a semi, or a bus full of people, could be disastrous," he said.

"If you hit a horse, there's no forgiveness; the body will go straight through the windscreen."

Mr Fraser said that while council was responsible for stray stock on the road, they are not responsible for wild horses.

To help drivers know to look out for the horses, he suggested a flashing sign, or that the horses be fenced in, which could prove expensive.

Mr Fraser said he will be sending letters to the RTA and State Government asking them to ad- dress the problem.

n What do you think? Send your letters to the Coffs Coast Advocate, 150 words or less, to email editor@coffscoastadvo- cate.com.au

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