'What an idiot': Watch as driver underestimates Dunedin's Baldwin St

Christmas Day wasn't so jolly for one unlucky driver who crashed on the world's steepest street.

Emergency services were called to Dunedin's Baldwin St shortly before 4pm after a Honda failed to make the climb and rolled backwards down the hill into a power pole.

A witness told NZME the vehicle was a people-mover weighed down with luggage. Video posted to social media showed smoke pouring around the car before it gave up.

"What an idiot!" one person exclaimed in the footage.

No one was reportedly injured but contractors were called to fix the damaged power pole.

Baldwin St, recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the world's steepest street, has a gradient of about 1:2.86 (19 degrees or 35 percent).

This means that for every 2.86 metres travelled horizontally, the elevation increases by one metre.

The tourist attraction is often used for fundraising attempts and stunts, including an 11-year-old boy who pogo-sticked up it for charity and a Kiwi who reached speeds of around 100km/h while riding a small trike.

But the street also has a darker side. It turned deadly in 2001 when a woman died after sliding down the street using a wheelie bin and hitting a parked trailer.