A shocking picture showing just how close a driver came to death in a horror road crash has been released by the PSNI.

The photo shows a wooden fence post speared through the head rest of the seat the man was sitting in when the crash happened in the Lisburn area.

The PSNI has published the image, with the driver's permission, to re-emphasise its road safety message in a year that has seen a significant increase in fatal crashes.

20 more people have been killed on Northern Ireland's roads this year compared with the same point in 2013.

The death toll so far in 2014 stands at 73. There were 57 fatalities in the whole of 2013.

The driver, who was lucky to avoid the fence post, is in hospital receiving treatment for a number of other injuries, including suspected broken ribs.

PSNI Lisburn commander Chief Inspector John Wilson said: "A full investigation has been launched to determine the cause of this accident, but this picture shows that the driver of this vehicle was just inches away from a serious head injury.

"He is in hospital suffering from a number of other injuries including suspected broken ribs but he gave us permission to use the picture so we could show just how shocking this was."