A driver may face charges after police found his steering wheel wasn't attached to his car.
The man was stopped during Operation Traction, a pre-Christmas, multi-agency road safety blitz in Canterbury.
Senior Sergeant Glenn Nalder said the wheel came away in the hands of the New Zealand Transport Authority officer inspecting the vehicle, giving him quite a shock.
"The driver claimed he had been doing some work on the car to get it roadworthy -clearly not enough," said Mr Nalder.
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"The stupidity of this driver is beyond description. It was a disaster waiting to happen."
The vehicle was taken off the road and charges were being considered.
About 20 drivers were caught over the drink-drive limit and 45 unsafe or defective motor vehicles were removed from the road.