A motorist swerved past other cars for five kilometres as she drove down the wrong side of Auckland's Southern Motorway before colliding with another vehicle, police allege.
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Police believe alcohol was a factor in the early morning crash.
The drivers of both cars were critically injured in the collision, which happened at 12.40am today next to the East Tamaki motorway onramp.
They were taken by ambulance to Middlemore Hospital, where one of the drivers was undergoing surgery. The other remained in intensive care in a critical condition.
The motorway was closed for several hours following the crash.
Members of the band Drax Project were driving into Auckland and said they narrowly missed colliding with the car.
"A car went by us in the opposite direction on our side of the road," band member Shaan Singh said.
"Two trucks were in the left lane and we were in the middle. The car went by us so fast in the right lane we weren't even sure if it was real.
"We pretty much only felt the car and had to ask each other if that had just happened.
"We had just been talking about the time when one of the band members Sam, two or three years ago, was driving into Auckland when a car driving in the opposite direction was on their side of the road.
"Then it happened...
"We called 111 immediately after.
"We were completely freaked out and extremely worried about cars behind us. If we had been driving in the right lane and not the middle we would have surely been goners. We're all feeling pretty lucky.
"The car seemed to be driving at at least motorway speed but it was also right next to us so it would have been very difficult to gauge how fast it was actually going when it passed us."
Police wanted to hear from anyone who may have see a gold Nissan heading towards the Mt Wellington off ramp.
"This is a very disappointing start to the Queen's Birthday long weekend," Senior Constable Karl Bevin said.
Anyone who had information relating to the collision could call Waitemata Serious Crash Unit on 09 481 0773.