Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Highway Horror for Families; Campaign to Help Stop Road Deaths

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Highway Horror for Families; Campaign to Help Stop Road Deaths

Article excerpt

COMMENT

Adam Hourigan

adam.hourigan@dailyexaminer.com.au

THROUGH my work as a photojournalist, I'm often at the scene of many road fatalities and, no matter how many I see, they never get any easier to attend.

I was a 17-year-old apprentice when I attended my first, tasked to take some "forensic" photos as the official people were unable to be there. I carefully followed instructions and recorded every detail of the accident that I was directed to.

A man had died in a single vehicle collision. He had no seatbelt on and was stuck in the windscreen after being thrown forward from the impact. I haven't seen a worse sight in the 21 years that followed.

I asked an SES volunteer at the time how they dealt with seeing that image day in, day out.

He looked down and said, "I have to think that it's not a person, just metal".

It's a line I've often said to others who ask me the same question. I don't really believe it any more than I think they did.

It's just a coping mechanism; trying not to think of the vision that is in front of you.

But that experience doesn't come close to the horror of having it happen to someone you know or love.

We routinely walk out the door each day, give a wave or a hug, say "see you later", and go about our daily business.

Imagine getting a phone call a few hours later from an unfamiliar number, a knock at the door, or an unexpected visitor, face sombre, voice serious...

I don't think a single person spared of being in that situation could understand what that must be like. It doesn't even bear thinking about.

I've stood on the highway beside emergency services all night long, watching in silent reverence as they perform the most awful of their duties in the most professional and respectful way, and every time it eats away at you, as it must do them. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.