Road tragedy

The Hills community reached a horrific milestone last week – five lives lost on Long Valley Road between Wistow and Strathalbyn in less than two years.
The statistics don’t lie and it is clear that something must be done to address the regular carnage occurring on this road.
A State Government review into the road was completed in November last year and has resulted in $6m of shoulder sealing, intersection upgrades and sight distance improvements along the route.
Those works are currently under way.
A separate Federal Government election promise of an overtaking lane for Strathalbyn-bound traffic (there are two for north-bound traffic) is yet to be built.
Only time will tell whether these works result in a safety improvement.
While traffic experts suggest there is not a problem with the road requiring a single solution, it is worth noting that all five fatalities have been the result of head-on collisions.
Improved shoulder sealing (to reduce the chance of drivers over correcting if they veer onto the gravel) and the addition of rumble strips on the centre and outside lines may help.
While it is easy to blame the Government for a lack of road safety infrastructure it must be remembered that drivers are the ones with the most control over their safety and the safety of others.
With Long Valley Road an important connection between the Hills and Fleurieu regions and carrying more traffic each year, the likelihood of crashes is certain to increase.
The route is the perfect trap for some drivers – high speed, high traffic volume, with hidden driveways and intersections, poor visibility along some stretches of road and little room for error.
But many road users are also daily commuters who can be lulled into a false sense of security because they know the road and therefore may not be concentrating as closely as they should. Road users should be aware if infrastructure treatments do not reduce the likelihood of a crash, the Government may turn to an increased police presence or a speed reduction as the only remaining solutions.
Commuters may need to be prepared to drive at a lower speed of 80km/h and have 2.5 minutes’ travel time added to their journey between Wistow and Strathalbyn in order to save lives.