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'People aren't afraid to die': Dramatic dashcam footage shows near miss

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 18 May 2024, 11:30am

'People aren't afraid to die': Dramatic dashcam footage shows near miss

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 18 May 2024, 11:30am

Footage has emerged from a dashcam of a speeding car almost colliding with two trucks while overtaking on the Desert Rd in the middle of the North Island. 

Police have called the driving in the video “incredibly dangerous” and called for patience on the roads. 

A heavy goods vehicle driver who did not wish to be named told the Herald she had been travelling along State Highway 1 towards Wellington last week. 

“I had a couple of cars behind me and was cruising along at around 70km/h, building up speed because I had just gone up a hill,” she said. 

“Next minute this car was passing me and there was a truck coming around the corner.” 

She said if the car had arrived a split second later, it would have been flung off the truck and ricocheted into her truck. 

“They wouldn’t be here now.” 

She would not have been surprised if the wind draft caused by the unit had caused the car to be struck. 

A near miss caught on dashcam on the Desert Rd on May 15, 2024. Photo / SuppliedA near miss caught on dashcam on the Desert Rd on May 15, 2024. Photo / Supplied 

The driver said on any day, this type of dangerous driving happens hourly. 

“I’ve got more dashcam footage of cars passing in front of me, cars passing cars on blind corners. 

“The worst of it is at the end of a passing lane. People mess around at the end of a passing lane and then pass at the last minute. 

“You indicate to merge as the passing lane has ended and cars are still coming up beside you using double yellow lines.” 

She said a two-tonne car would have come up against a 57-tonne unit. 

“Who’s going to win? 

“It shows that people aren’t afraid to die. When you pass people in stupid spots like that, you’re not putting yourself at risk, you’re putting everyone else at risk.” 

Police said this “kind of driving behaviour is incredibly dangerous”. 

“Overtaking vehicles when it is not safe to do so can have deadly repercussions – both for yourself, your passengers, and other motorists on the road,” a police spokeswoman said. 

“If you are stuck behind a slow vehicle, you need to keep calm, remain patient, and only overtake when it is safe to do so.” 

Slow vehicles should similarly take opportunities to pull over and let vehicles behind them pass, she said. 

Passengers should try to get a registration number of cars driving dangerously to allow police to make further inquiries. 

Meanwhile, the truck driver thought North Island drivers were worse than those in the South Island. 

“People in the South Island are more laid-back and courteous, whereas the North Island everyone is in a rush to get somewhere.” 

An NZ Post spokesperson said they encourage all contractors and drivers to call *555 and report any dangerous driving incidents they might witness to company management. 

In 2022, truck driver Peter Hughes shared dashcam footage with the Herald of multiple near miss encounters with drivers across New Zealand. 

The videos show drivers attempting risky, illegal overtaking manoeuvres and Hughes says they only represent a fraction of what truckies see every day. 

Hughes was critical of the Kiwi perspective that driving was a right and not a privilege, saying our ego often outstrips our ability as drivers. 

“There seems to be more of an entitled attitude,” he said, telling the Herald motorists with that attitude would push the limits on the road “come hell or high water” and irrespective of any changes to road rules. 

“People are always going to break the speed limit.” 

Hughes said motorists needed to understand that trucks couldn’t easily take evasive action, and drivers were trained to “hold the line” and reduce speed to prevent a potentially worse situation if the truck tipped. 

He said he had been fortunate not to have been involved personally in any fatal accidents, but had been first on the scene of a fatal crash and said the experience “doesn’t leave your head for a while”. 

He implored anyone driving on our roads to pay attention to their surroundings, have respect for other drivers and be aware of the consequences of a collision with a truck, because “there’s only going to be one option”. 

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