Motorists are being asked not to take any unnecessary personal risks when trying to assist at crash scenes, after a man was injured trying to flag down traffic at the scene of an accident.
A 26-year-old man was taken to hospital with concussion, after trying to flag down traffic at the scene of a four-car crash on the Ngaruroro River bridge, Hawke's Bay Expressway, at about 9.35pm on Tuesday.
He was discharged later that night.
The same crash resulted in fire crews cutting an 81-year-old woman from her Mazda Familia.
She was taken to hospital by ambulance, where last night she remained in a serious condition in the intensive care ward.
Hawke's Bay Road Policing Sergeant Clint Adamson said the road was closed for almost two hours while police and other emergency services investigated and cleared the scene.
The Mazda lost power for unknown reasons toward the Hastings end of the bridge. Mr Adamson said many motorists had driven past before a man in a Holden Commodore stopped, turned his car around and tried to offer a jump start.
A third car, a Honda Accord, then stopped nearby and the driver went to assist.
"The information we have is that he was trying to flag down passing motorists."
A four-wheel-drive vehicle then came onto the bridge but, due to the conditions and with no warning before the bridge, was in collision with the Mazda.
As a result, the Mazda was shunted into the Commodore, forcing the man flagging down traffic to leap out of the path of the car, resulting in minor head injuries. Mr Adamson said it was lucky the man's Honda Accord was not damaged because it was a near-miss.
There was no evidence the driver of the four-wheel-drive was speeding or driving dangerously.
Roadsafe Hawke's Bay chief instructor Andrew Templeton said samaritans should help but be safe about it.
He said rather than going out in traffic, a person should use their vehicle to block off the road and turn their hazard lights on, especially if it was dark.
"Obviously, a person should not be on the road.
"Do not take any unnecessary risks.
"Don't put yourself in danger by going on the road," Mr Templeton said.
"Be a good samaritan but you've got to keep yourself safe. What you should do is call for emergency services and not put yourself at risk."
Mr Adamson did not want to criticise the samaritan but advised motorists who assisted at an accident scene to park their car further down the road with the hazard lights on.
"You need to give other drivers plenty of warning heading up to a crash.
"If the warning is right on top of the scene, it's just too hard for drivers to respond in time," he said.
"Drivers should park their cars a good distance away.
"Last night the warnings were just simply too late for the other driver to see the crash scene."
Hastings Fire Service Senior Station Officer Bruno Saathof said it was important to provide protection for the scene if practical, by using hazard lights to warn oncoming traffic.
He said samaritans should stay "well clear of the scene".
Mr Adamson said inquiries were continuing and no decisions had been made about whether to charge anybody with an offence.
Police were still yet to talk to everybody involved.