Two accidents in less than a week caused by drivers dozing off at the wheel have prompted a warning from police that fatigue can kill.
A Queenstown youth was lucky to escape with minor injuries after allegedly falling asleep at the wheel near Omarama on Tuesday afternoon.
Omarama police Constable Nayland Smith said the youth fell asleep while driving on the Omarama-Twizel Rd and woke to find himself on the wrong side of the road. The youth's vehicle had rolled three times, stopping in the path of an oncoming car, Mr Smith said.
On Saturday, on the same road, a small tourist bus pulling a luggage trailer went out of control and crashed after the driver had also allegedly dozed off.
The only two people on board the bus, which crashed about 8.30am, were the driver and a tour guide.
The road was reduced to one lane for a short time after the crash and Omarama volunteer firefighters helped with traffic control.
Mr Smith said fatigue was a recurring theme in accidents in the Omarama area.
"People try to drive [through Omarama] from Christchurch to Queenstown and I don't think they are stopping and having enough rest on the trip," he said.
Oamaru police Highway Patrol Sergeant Peter Muldrew said that driver fatigue, especially as the summer holiday season was approaching, was a concern for police.
Driver fatigue was under-reported.
"People don't like to admit that they've fallen asleep at the wheel," Mr Muldrew said.
Police would be on duty during the summer holidays with fatigue stops.
"It's something we really try to promote during public holidays because of the volume of traffic on the roads."
Mr Muldrew said combating driver fatigue often only took a 10 to 20-minute break from being behind the wheel.