A young man splayed out in a 100km/h zone on SH2 caused two vehicles to swerve off the road and had his hand run over by a third, which could not stop due to oncoming traffic.

One of the drivers, who only wished to be known as Gabby, told Hawke's Bay Today she was travelling from Havelock North to Napier after catching up with some girlfriends on Saturday, when she came across a body on the road near the golf course at Awatoto, about 10.50pm.

Acting fast, Gabby was able to avoid him by skidding on to the roadside - however she had been just a foot away from hitting what initially appeared to be a pile of leaves.

"When I got closer I realised it was a body, I could see his face and hands, other than that his clothing was all black.

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"The first car behind me swerved to the centre of the road, he was lying in the middle of my lane," she said.

"The other [vehicle] behind them had been following in convoy and couldn't avoid going over him without causing a major accident."

A witness pulled the man to safety on the side of the road and kept him calm, while police were called.

It is believed he was at a 21st birthday party prior to the accident and a police communications spokesperson confirmed he had been drinking.

Officers transported him to Hawke's Bay Hospital with broken fingers, though Gabby said he was fortunate to avoid more serious injury.

"I think it was a case of good defensive driving, it's a good lesson ... I know the man behind me thought it was a black sack rubbish bag.

"I didn't know whether that person was alive or not - because I didn't know if someone else had already hit him, I'd say he was very lucky."