A Dunedin driver who crashed into a cow woke up in a smoke-filled car with an 18-wheeler truck bearing down on her.

Rachel Covey, pictured being comforted yesterday by friend Stephanie Smith, both of Dunedin, was driving north on State Highway 1, near Moeraki, about 7.30pm on Friday when ''all of a sudden a black cow jumped out in the middle of the road''.

She remembered slamming on her brakes before her beloved Mini Cooper smashed into the cow.

The 26-year-old awoke to find airbags had been deployed in her now wrecked vehicle, which was fast filling up with smoke.


Grabbing her cellphone, she fled the vehicle, fearing it would explode.

With no lights coming from her vehicle, she looked in horror to see the lights of an 18-wheel truck - followed by a convoy of vehicles - fast approaching.

''So, I stood in the middle of the road flashing my cellphone so he could see me.''

Miss Covey said the quick-thinking truck driver flashed his lights in acknowledgment ''then swerved to avoid me''.

One by one, the other vehicles came to a halt, and ''if people didn't stop then the accident would have been 10 times worse''.

Miss Covey escaped with scratches, bruising and whiplash from the Friday night crash, and did not require hospital treatment.

''Everyone has said I was lucky to survive ... the police, the fire brigade, ambulance officers, witnesses, all can't believe I walked away.''

''I will definitely buy a Lotto ticket.''

She believed the low height of her car was a major reason she was unhurt, as the cow was forced up over the bonnet before striking the windscreen and ''going over the top and behind me''.

''I am not going to drive anything but a Mini Cooper from now on,'' she said.

Miss Covey said she was heartbroken to hear the cow, which was later put down, had been distressed as her calf had been stolen just days earlier.

''I feel really overwhelmed ... it could have ended so differently.''