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5 hrs, 300km - asleep at wheel

2013-08-14 10:22

DRIVING IN THE DARK: The route, as shown on Google Maps, the woman would have taken on her 300km sleepy drive. Image: Google Maps

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - A New Zealand woman drove for hundreds of kilometres while asleep at the wheel, sending texts from her cellphone along the way.

Wellington police said they received an emergency call just after midnight from a friend who was concerned that the woman had gone out in her car after taking a sedative.


Told that the woman had been sleep-driving 10 months earlier and had a fondness for the beach, police ordered patrol cars to watch for her silver hatchback and began tracking her via her mobile phone, which showed she was sending texts as she drove from her Hamilton home to the beach town of Mount Maunganui, via Auckland, a distance of almost 300km.

After five hours on the road she was finally found slumped over the wheel in the driveway of a house she used to live in, with no recollection of her sleepy sojourn.

A police spokesman said: "We've sought an urgent order forbidding her to drive and ordering her to seek medical advice on her suitability to hold a driving licence. Though she was found safe and well it was a relief for everybody involved - the potential for tragedy was huge.

"We're urging people suffering medical conditions to be open and honest with their doctors and seek advice on whether their medication will affect their ability to drive."

A man in Britain crashed his car from 160km/h back in June, 2013.
Read more on:    wellington  |  new zealand

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