Terrifying footage has emerged of a child behind the wheel of a car on Auckland's Northern Motorway.

In a video posted to social media, a young boy can be seen sitting unrestrained in the lap of an adult in the driver's seat heading city-bound towards the Harbour Bridge.

During the incident, which occurred on Tuesday, the boy can be seen turning around and looking out the window towards the person filming the unfolding events.

The person who caught the incident on camera can be heard swearing in disbelief at what he saw before saying "up to, bro?" as the camera panned away.

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According to the witness, the child was first sitting in the passenger seat with no children's safety seat before climbing on to the driver's lap.

Terrifying footage has emerged of a child behind the wheel of a car on Auckland's northern motorway.
Terrifying footage has emerged of a child behind the wheel of a car on Auckland's northern motorway.

The witness told Stuff he was shocked at what he saw, saying he couldn't believe a child would be behind the wheel on the main motorway, especially heading towards the Harbour Bridge.

Viewers on social media have since hit out saying the parent put the child's life at risk.

"Bloody insane! Imagine the damage alone with the airbag," one person said.

Another wrote: "That's so dangerous. Even if the parent's hand is on the wheel it adds another distraction that could impact other drivers."

The witness says he hasn't reported the incident to police as he wasn't able to grab the car's details in time.