A four-wheel-drive towing a boat crashed and ended up on the wrong side of State Highway 1 south of Whangarei, narrowly missing a car that had crashed in nearly the same spot 10 hours earlier.

Emergency service workers were called to the crashes, a few hundred metres south of the turn-off to Ruakaka on Sunday.

Ruakaka firefighter Jeff D'Ath said it was very lucky no one was seriously injured in either crash.

The vehicles hurtled across the road before coming to a stop.

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The first call came about 7am on Sunday when a woman travelling with three children lost control of the car and it ended up on the wrong side of the road facing north.

"The kids weren't hurt. Fortunately they were all belted in, which was good to see," D'Ath said.

The second call came about 4.30pm when a 4WD towing a boat on a trailer crashed. It is believed the coupling on the trailer was faulty.

D'Ath said the driver reported coming over a small bridge on the highway, which caused the trailer to lurch.

The coupling is thought to have detached, spinning the 4WD around and pushing it across the road. The driver reported having to avoid the other crashed car on the side of the road.

The boat and trailer ended up on the side of the road, with the 4WD on its side beside them. The two people in the vehicle were uninjured.

A crane was scheduled to remove the boat yesterday. The trailer was extensively damaged and the boat had several holes in its fibreglass hull.