Westland St resident Heather Heaps says better signage is
needed to ensure people do not drive up the motorway the
wrong way. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Residents of the street where an elderly woman drove on
to a Dunedin motorway the wrong way, causing a horror smash,
say action is needed to prevent fatalities.
Three people remain in Dunedin Hospital following Sunday's
head-on crash, including a child who, police said, was
wearing a lap belt and not secured in a booster seat as
The woman, believed to be in her 90s, drove more than 1.3km
in the southbound lane of the Southern Motorway after driving
the wrong way north along the Abbotsford exit on Westland St,
Heather Heaps, who has lived in Westland St for 23 years,
said she once saw an older female driver head the wrong way
along the turn-off before turning around on the motorway.
While the turn-off exit included No Entry signs, she and
fellow resident Callan Gaut believed signs were needed at the
entrance to the street.
Mr Gaut, who has lived in the street for four years, had seen
cars speed up as drivers mistakenly thought they were heading
on to the motorway.
''I have seen quite a few accidents when they see the signs
at the last minute.''
He had also seen other drivers try to turn left from a
traffic island into the motorway exit, and believed the signs
might be obscured.
''If you are hugging left there you can't see the signs from
the driver's side ... It would be a hell of a smash if
someone was trying to go up that way.''
New Zealand Transport Agency senior safety engineer Roy
Johnston said the agency would consider whether changes were
required to signage or lighting following completion of the
police crash report.
NZTA reviewed signage of the site in June 2012, he said.
Senior Sergeant Alastair Dickie said the signage to Westland
St was ''very clear''.
''I haven't heard of too many motorists who have done what
Police received multiple calls about the woman's driving.
''It was an accident waiting to happen, and it did.''
Police estimated she was driving between 60kmh and 70kmh in
the right-hand lane when she encountered a 4WD and a car
travelling south in the 100kmh area.
''The car that got hit was behind the 4WD and couldn't see
her coming. She came up to the first two and they parted and
she came through the middle and hit him,'' Snr Sgt Dickie
He was disappointed the child in the other car was not in a
car booster seat as required by law for children under 7.