Don Scandrett had less than a second to react when a car came hurtling towards him on a dangerous stretch of Northland road.

"There was absolutely nothing I could do."

Scandrett, a 53-year-old father of three from Warkworth, the general manager for the Stroke Foundation Auckland and Northland region, was on his way to Whangārei to train a new staff member when he was involved in the crash on Smeaton's Hill south of the city.

Don Scandrett injured in a scary crash captured on dashcam. Photo / File Photo
Don Scandrett injured in a scary crash captured on dashcam. Photo / File Photo

The bone-chilling crash was caught on dashcam and while it happened in January, 2016, the footage has this week surfaced on the internet.

Advertisement

Scandrett had seen the video previously after the female driver appeared in court and plead guilty to a charge of careless use of a motor vehicle causing injury.

"It was quite upsetting the first time which quite surprised me," he recalled.

But the main point Scandrett want people watching the video to learn is that drivers need to be more tolerant on the Northland roads.

"It not just a police problem. Police, fire and ambulance are the ones that pick up the pieces but everyone has to take responsibility when driving on the roads. There needs to be more tolerance by every driver on the road."

He described how a car came across the road at him and "bang".

"I literally would have seen the other vehicle one second before it hit me," he said. "I've always prided myself on being a good driver and I'd never had an accident before this but I had no chance."

The right front side of his vehicle bore the brunt of the collision and the impact broke his sternum and five ribs were shattered in different places. Three weeks later it was also discovered he had a broken knee cap.

The front door was cut off by firefighters and Scandrett was able to shuffle out and was taken in an ambulance to Whangārei Hospital where he stayed for a week.

"I guess I was lucky I was in a big car and it crumpled around me and kept me reasonably protected. I was certainly conscious and was aware of what was going on."

He took three months off work but more than two years later his knee still aches and he can't lie on his left side for very long before it starts to hurt.

A vehicle involved in a serious crash on Smeaton's Hill that was captured on dashcam. Photo/ File
A vehicle involved in a serious crash on Smeaton's Hill that was captured on dashcam. Photo/ File

"I can't run, not that I was much of a runner before, but the knee is too sore."

He has no malice towards the female driver who crossed the road and was convicted of careless use of a motor vehicle causing injury, but just wants people to take care on the road.

The owner of the dashcam, who only wanted to be called Graham, said he has had a dashcam for about five years and this was one of the most frightening experiences he had captured.

However, he had footage from hundreds of incidents and near misses on the road between Auckland and Whangārei that he drives weekly for work.

"It was a miserable day and I was listening to the radio minding my own business when there was a car sliding sideways across the road. I thought it was going to hit me but it hit the car in front of me [Scandrett's]."

Keeping his cool Graham waited momentarily until the cars collided then steered around the vehicles. He stopped as soon as he could and went to help Scandrett in his vehicle.

"It all happened in a split-second. Looking back at the video I'm gobsmacked, it could have been far worse."

He also wanted people to take away a road safety message from watching the dashcam footage.

Part of a vehicle being removed from the road after a serious crash on Smeaton's Hill, Northland, 2016.
Part of a vehicle being removed from the road after a serious crash on Smeaton's Hill, Northland, 2016.

"When emergency services say drive to the conditions it doesn't just mean when it's raining but it's every day that drivers need to adapt to all road conditions. You might just make a life-saving decision for someone or yourself."

Smeaton's Hill is in a section of road south of Whangārei that local leaders had campaigned to have made into a four-lane highway.

However, in April Transport Minister Phil Twyford said the road was dangerous in parts, needs a lot of work done on it and it would be improved but four-laning was not an option. Passing lanes and barriers would be put in place to make the road safer.