Frightening near head-on crash in Bay of Plenty caught on camera
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Terrifying footage has emerged of a silver ute overtaking a 23m-long truck and coming inches away from crashing into oncoming traffic.
On Friday, truck driver Wayne Prujean was travelling between Pongakawa and Paengaroa in the Bay of Plenty when a ute suddenly tried to overtake him at more than 90km/h.
Prujean told the Herald he assumed the ute driver had seen the oncoming car.
The driver hadn't.
"I saw the guy when he was about halfway around me, when I realised what was going on. I thought he'd just brake and pull back in but he obviously carried on," Prujean said.
"I was watching the guy in the car thinking, 'geez, I wonder what he's going to do and where he's going to go'.
"It was a miracle the car driver remained calm and carried on straight ahead or it would have been deadly.
"I've seen some crazy stuff on our roads but that's one of the worst near-misses I've seen."
The dashcam footage shows the ute veering onto the opposite side of the road as a blue car approaches up ahead.
But instead of braking and pulling back behind the truck, the ute driver then veers further to the right, narrowly avoiding the oncoming car by inches.
Prujean said the ute driver's behaviour was "utterly crazy" and "unbelievable", explaining the car driver's natural reaction would have been to move off the road on the left, a decision that could have proven deadly due to the ute's positioning.
The truck driver, who drives a 50-tonne, 23m-long vehicle, briefly slowed down to try and avoid the incident, but told the Herald people don't understand how dangerous it is for a truck to suddenly slam on its brakes.
"I couldn't believe it. I didn't want to start swerving and slamming on the brakes because I'm 50 tonnes.
"I wonder if people don't realise when the pull out how long and heavy I am. I have an H on the back but people don't seem to understand it means I'm a lot heavier and longer than most trucks.
"I made the decision years ago that if someone was going to do something stupid, I wouldn't be the one upside down in a ditch dead because of some idiot while they drive away scot-free."
"I did slow down but slamming on the brakes wasn't going to do anything. the worst thing I could have done was start to panic."
It wasn't the first incident Prujean had come across on Friday, explaining he had three cars overtaking him on double-yellow lines.
The experienced truckie is baffled at how many people attempt to overtake trucks in unpassable positions on the roads.
He believes it'll cost someone their life one day, if it hasn't done so already.
"People can't seem to sit behind a truck and wait just one minute to get past. They're impatient and do stupid things just to get past you.
"It's amazing how many people risk their lives just to save 10 seconds. It's absolutely crazy on our roads and it happens on a daily basis."
Prujean says he is considering a sticker on the back of his truck to inform people of how long his vehicle is.
- NZ Herald