A young woman was trapped in her car for hours after a crash on the Midland Highway, raising serious questions about the safety of the road south of Ballarat.
Emergency crews were called out to the scene after her yellow sedan lost control and smashed into a power pole before coming to rest on a tree in Elaine about 7am on Thursday.
The victim, a 22-year-old, remained conscious as firefighters worked to free her from the wreckage.
She was airlifted to the Royal Melbourne Hospital in a serious condition with suspected spinal injuries after 8am, an Ambulance Victoria spokeswoman said.
Nobody else was in her car and no other vehicles were involved in the incident.
Traffic was diverted while police and CFA crews cleared the scene close to an intersection with Fords Lane.
The road was closed for more than two hours before it reopened about 9.30am.