A police officer needed to use a rope tied to his ute's tow bar to reach the driver of a car balancing at the top of a steep drop.

The accident was about 10.10pm on Wednesday on State Highway 10, near the top of Kaeo Hill.

Kaeo fire chief Lindsay Murray said daylight showed the crashed car was securely wedged against a couple of trees but at the time the driver could see only the void below him.

He called emergency services fearing any movement would send his automobile tumbling down the bank.


Mr Murray said it appeared the driver had been heading uphill when he lost control on a section of freshly laid tarseal, skidding across the road and down a bank, coming to rest at the top of a steep drop.

Kaeo's police constable lowered himself down and found the car was secure.

The driver was unhurt and able to clamber out the passenger door.

"It was a fair drop," Mr Murray said.

About 20m further south another car had come to grief in the same way with the skid marks almost parallel to the first. There was no one with the vehicle so it was unclear when the earlier accident happened.

Mr Murray said too many drivers were failing to heed the 50km/h temporary limits where resealing work was taking place on SH10.

"People tend to travel too fast on new seal, especially when it hasn't been swept. When they jam on their brakes it's like driving on marbles," he said.

About 11.10am yesterday, a nose-to-tail crash near Kerikeri partly blocked SH10. Police, fire and St John ambulance were called out but no one was injured.