An Auckland fisherman had no luck wetting the line on Saturday but his tide turned while driving home, saving an unresponsive driver from a potential high-speed crash.

Near the East Tamaki off-ramp on the Southern Motorway, a ute was sitting at a standstill in the southbound left-hand lane in the early hours of Sunday.

Fisherman Ted Hansen soon arrived, rescuing the driver, who appeared to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, after Hansen jumped inside the man's ute and steered the vehicle off the road.

Hansen was driving his van down the motorway on his way home from an unsuccessful fishing trip when he nearly hit the stationary ute, swerving out of the way at the last minute.

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"I thought he was driving left to East Tamaki and I just missed him."

Parking on the shoulder of the motorway and with a flashlight in hand, Hansen approached the ute and discovered a man asleep at the wheel.

The ute was at a standstill in the middle of the Southern Motorway. Photo / Supplied
The ute was at a standstill in the middle of the Southern Motorway. Photo / Supplied

Despite music blaring from the ute's speakers and Hansen's attempts to wake the driver up, there was no reaction from the man.

"He was at a stop with his foot on the brake, he just had his head on the steering wheel asleep," Hansen told the Herald.

"I jumped behind the ute and with my flashlight, I tried using that trying to divert traffic into another lane."

Hansen called for police assistance, who told him officers were en route but were still some time away.

After shepherding oncoming cars into other lanes, Hansen decided to take action to prevent someone getting seriously hurt.

"There were cars flying past nearly hitting him, nearly hitting me and I just thought, 'Stuff it, I'm going to jump in'.

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"I jumped in through the passenger seat, leant down and pulled his leg off the brake and held it up while I accelerated and steered the ute off the motorway."

Hansen took the keys and tried waking the man up again, even trying to call someone on the man's phone, but to no avail.

Police eventually arrived soon and breath tested the sleepy driver, Hansen said.

Ted Hansen moved the ute off the road, while the driver slept, after nearly crashing into it. Photo / Supplied
Ted Hansen moved the ute off the road, while the driver slept, after nearly crashing into it. Photo / Supplied

A police spokeswoman confirmed officers attended the incident following reports of a stopped vehicle between East Tamaki Rd and Te Irirangi Rd off-ramp.

"Police attended [about 1.20am] and spoke with those involved, and one person accompanied police back to the station to assist with inquiries," she said.

"Inquiries into the circumstances of the incident are ongoing."

Hansen said the ordeal was "frightening" but was thankful he was able to get the ute off the road without a hitch.

"It could have ended so much worse, someone could have died, a few people could have died or have been injured.

"If you're going to drink, get an Uber or taxi home, or have a sober driver, don't put people in danger, something bad could have happened."