Two people are dead and two others critically and seriously injured after a cluster of car crashes in Canterbury overnight.

At about 1.15am this morning a car crashed into a tree on Brougham Street near Antigua Street in Christchurch City.

Emergency services found the driver dead at the scene. The passenger was taken to Christchurch Hospital in a critical condition but later passed away.

Canterbury Police said the driver was thought to have lost control while passing another car at speed on Brougham Street.

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The deaths were referred to the Coroner.

Earlier last night, another driver crashed into a tree and was seriously injured. That crash happened at about 9:45pm when a Hyundai Accent driver lost control after changing lanes on Brougham Street near Ensors Road.

Canterbury Police said the driver was not wearing a seat belt and had serious head and chest injuries. A passenger, who was wearing a seatbelt, was moderately injured.

Later, a driver was critically injured after crashing into a ditch near Tai Tapu at about 12:50am. "Initial reports suggest the vehicle drifted across the road before crashing into the ditch," a police spokeswoman said. No other vehicles were involved.

Police said they were investigating all three crashes.

"This is a timely reminder for all road users in Canterbury to drive to the conditions, wear appropriate restraints and allow enough time to make informed decisions at intersections or before changing lanes," said Inspector Al Stewart, Canterbury Police Road Policing Manager.

"In wet conditions, as we had overnight in the city, allow more time for your journeys, keep speeds down and nominate a sober driver," Mr Stewart said.

"On 1st December 2014 the drink-drive limits will reduce so if you're planning on socialising or celebrating with friends plan how you will get home."

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Police said anyone who might have witnessed any of the crashes should contact them on 03 363 7670. People with information could also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.