Two Rotorua men ran to the aid of an unconscious woman in a car filling up with smoke after the car drove into the back of another car on Te Ngae Rd this morning.

Marshall Paul and Andrew Gibbs were on Te Ngae Rd, on the eastern side of Rotorua, outside Tesha's mobile coffee cart near the intersection with Wharenui Rd when they saw a white car drive into the back of a ute that had stopped behind a line of traffic.

The men said the horn was going in the white car and the woman was motionless inside, so adrenalin kicked in and they ran over to help her.

Mr Paul said the inside of the car was filling up with smoke and although mindful they shouldn't move the woman, they made the call to get her out.

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"The car was full of smoke, I checked her heart rate and then yelled at her that I am going to pull her out," Mr Paul said.

"You could smell the smoke (and knew) that it was wires burning and my thought was it is either going to blow up or keep burning. There was also a risk someone else was going to smack up the rear of her car."

Mr Paul pulled her from the car and carried her across the road and put her into the back of someone else's car.

The woman started to wake and a member of the public, a former nurse, stopped and checked her over until St John Ambulance paramedics arrived.

She was taken to Rotorua Hospital in a moderate condition.

Mr Paul, who owns Tesha's with his partner, said he had his cup of tea in one hand and his cigarette in his mouth when the crashed happened right in front of him while he was talking to Mr Gibbs.

"I ran over still holding my cup of tea, put it down, pulled her out and took her across the road, still with the smoke in my mouth. I then went back and got my cup of tea."

Mr Gibbs said they were both unsure whether it was right to move the woman, who he estimated was in her mid 20s, but decided it was safer to get her out.

"The adrenalin started pumping straight away ... There was quite a bit of liquid leaking out underneath so we didn't want to take any chances."

Mr Gibbs called 111 while Mr Paul took the woman out of the car. He then helped slow traffic down until police arrived.