Beware cattle on U’hage road

I WISH to caution motorists using the R75 dual carriageway between Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage at night.

Most of us have seen by day the cattle, sometimes entire herds of them, grazing on both sides of the carriageway and crossing over at will.

What is not widely known is that those animals frequently graze there at night, when they are not easily visible, particularly on sections of the road which are not lit. Though there is likely to be a temporary reduction in numbers of animals in the coming months as they are converted into food, in the long run the herds are likely to increase as more and more budding township farmers begin to see the advantages of free roadside grazing, unencumbered by this “anything goes” administration of ours.

The other danger on the R75 is the number of cars driving on the wrong side of the road at night. I presume this occurs when a resident of the settlements alongside the road wishes to visit another resident on the same side a short distance further.

Rather than having to cross on to the correct carriageway, he drives slowly in the face of oncoming traffic. A few times I have had to face the frightening prospect of driving towards headlights, not knowing whether the driver was merely lazy or drunk.

It is my recommendation that, in the absence of action by the authorities, a safe speed of 60km/h be maintained. It is amazing how long it takes before a dark cow suddenly becomes visible in front of your car, and how short a time you have to brake or swerve.

And if there are a few cows on the road, swerving is futile.

-J J Ossher, Uitenhage

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