A YOUNG driver says she is lucky to be alive after her car plunged 20 feet down a hill after clipping a pothole.
And now trainee hairdresser Christie Councer is calling on Gloucestershire County Council to repair potholes on stretches of road which are known to be dangerous.
Christie was travelling along the A4173 from her home in Stroud to Gloucester College when the incident, which sent her car spinning out of control, occurred near to the junction with Styles Lane at around 10am on Monday, January 27.
The 19-year-old, who was travelling between 35 and 40mph, said she only spotted the pothole at the last minute and tried to steer around it but caught it and ended up careering across the road and into the opposite lane.
After bouncing off the kerb on the other side of the road, she was sent spinning back into the left-hand lane.
She then crashed sideways through a wooden fence and collided with a tree which was snapped in half by the full force of the car’s impact.
The ex-Archway pupil was showered with broken glass but luckily escaped with only cuts and bruises.
She said her injuries could have been far worse if a hedgerow hadn’t prevented her car from tumbling further down the embankment.
Christie, who works at Blushes in Gloucester, said the pothole, which appeared to have been circled with white paint by Gloucestershire Highways, should have been repaired straight away rather than simply marked and left.
“At the very least the council should have put some signs up to alert drivers to the pothole,” she said.
“They knew it was there because they had painted around it. If they had repaired it at the earliest possible opportunity none of this would have happened.
“I understand it’s difficult to repair all the potholes but it’s such a dangerous stretch of road, they should have repaired it immediately because you couldn’t see the paint until you were on top of it.”
After Christie’s car had come to a standstill four builders working nearby rushed to her assistance.
Between them, they were able to force open the driver’s side door and release the shaken teenager from inside to await the police, fire and ambulance crews who all attended the scene.
She was fitted with a neck brace, put on a stretcher and taken to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital where she received painkillers and a stitch for a gash in her head.
“I was so lucky, it really could have been a lot worse,” said Christie who is still suffering from a suspected concussion.
She would like to thank the builders and emergency service workers who came to her rescue.
Recent severe winters have caused major problems with potholes throughout the county. Gloucestershire County Council currently fixes around 50,000 a year and expects to spend £24 million in 2014 mending and resurfacing roads.
A GCC spokesman said: “Our sympathies are with the driver involved in this accident. Our busiest roads like the A4173 are inspected at least every month and across the county our priority is to fix unsafe potholes immediately, while smaller potholes are programmed to be repaired within 28 days – in line with the national guidelines.”