A mallard duck that led her ducklings into the path of an oncoming car is thought to have been the cause of a two-car smash on Centennial Drive in Palmerston North yesterday.
The duck crossed the road about 9.15am, causing a car to swerve into an oncoming Honda Odyssey van.
The impact rolled the van and sent it spinning sideways down the road, with the male driver escaping out of the driver's side window.
Both drivers were unhurt. The duck is also believed to have been unscathed.
Constable Brendon Ross said the woman car driver had lost control after trying to avoid the duck.
The van took the full brunt of the crash, so it was lucky there were no kids in the back seat, he said.
"As you can see it's a people mover but no kids, thankfully. He popped straight out the window with just a grazed arm, which is pretty amazing, but I guess that's what happens when you have your seatbelt on."
Speed was not a factor, and it was too early to say if charges would be laid.
A student on his way to Massey University got a shock when the van flipped and began careening down the road towards him.
"I got out of the way, then jumped out and ran over to him - I thought it was going to be pretty bad. He just popped his head up through the door. I was like 'are you all right, are you all right,' and he was like 'yeah, yeah'."
Detective Sergeant Tim Moffatt said care should be taken to avoid animals on the road, but if you couldn't stop safely, hitting them was better than hitting another person.
"Don't swerve, slow down if you can, but if it's too dangerous run over them. I'm not advocating killing them, I'm saying don't swerve to avoid them. Don't swerve to hit them, either."
- Manawatu Standard
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