It was a sombre sight — the front of a late model hatchback impaled in the wire rope safety barrier on State Highway 1, smoke escaping from under the bonnet. Thankfully the driver was unhurt.
It must have happened a few seconds before I merged in a passing lane on SH1 before Rangiriri — and about 10 minutes before I had been thinking that not enough of my fellow drivers were driving to the conditions.
And those conditions were bad. The heaviest rain of the month had caused surface flooding, the traffic was busy during the Anzac Day long weekend, and visibility was poor during the downpour.
Last Sunday I had decided to take my test car for a day trip to Raglan, via a back road out of Huntly.
Driving on the Southern Motorway, I noticed fellow drivers were not only driving too fast in rain, they also were tailgating.
In normal driving conditions the following distance recommended is two seconds. When conditions are poor, that should increase to four seconds. I was formulating this editorial in my head (“drive to the conditions”) when I came across the accident.
I was driving in an 80km/h zone, wishing it was sunny so I could take the roof off. But as the downpour became heavier — and visibility worsened — I was wishing I was back at home.
So was the driver of the impaled hatchback.
He must have lost control of his car on the slippery surface and collided with the barrier that’s nicknamed the cheese grater.
After seeing the aftermath of the collision, I slowed down even more. Road conditions were bad, so I took heed.