The use of a spacesaver tyre combined with excess speed on a damp Whangarei road may have contributed to a crash that left a car teetering on bank above a house after bowling over a street lamp.
Police were called after a motorist noticed a dark-coloured hatchback on Kiripaka Rd about 6.10am yesterday.
When officers arrived, the occupants of the crashed car had already left. However, police know who the car is registered to and are continuing to investigate.
Police emergency tape was strung round the car and the broken lamp cordoned off by cones. The lamp was due to be replaced yesterday.
A spacesaver tyre on the rear driver's side of the car had sheared off and was left resting up against the abandoned vehicle.
Northland police road policing Senior Sergeant Ian Row said the incident was a warning for drivers about the dangers of using spacesaver tyres over long distances, saying they were designed to be only a temporary solution.
He said spacesaver tyres should be driven at low speed and for only a short period and the maximum speed for driving on a spacesaver tyre was 80km/h on the open road.
Spacesaver tyres are smaller and less durable than regular tyres with less traction and are not designed for everyday use.
"They are for emergency use only. With a little bit of extra speed and moisture no matter what you do they are not going to improve traction," Mr Row said.
"They are designed to allow you to limp to a garage to get the tyre fixed and put the original back on. The spacesavers need to be used with extreme care," he said.
A Whangarei District Council spokesperson said they would be seeking costs from those involved in the crash.
Contractors would replace the lamp which could cost between $3000 and $5000.