A HAIRDRESSER killed in a head-on collision on a notoriously dangerous stretch of road near Bath lost control while driving with defective tyres.
Yasmin Richards, of Alveston, died in a crash on Hartley Bend on the A46 on her way to work in Bath on Saturday, November 2.
A police investigation found that the tyres on her Ford Ka were significantly under-inflated with tread below the legal limit.
Avon Coroners’ Court heard today how the 21-year-old had swerved into the wrong side of the road around a bend near Nimlet into the path of an oncoming Range Rover.
Her family and boyfriend were in court at Flax Bourton to hear the coroner’s ruling.
An investigation found that her tyres were badly worn and at almost half the recommended pressure, which police believe caused her to lose control on the bend.
Collision investigator PC Julian Chambers said: “With all four wheels under-inflated, it makes the car very unmanageable in every respect. It almost created a yo-yo effect as she was coming around the bend.”
By swerving and over correcting her steering, she crossed into the path of oncoming traffic, narrowly missing a silver VW Gold before hitting the Range Rover.
Driver Ian Marris, who does not face prosecution, was said to have braked sharply but had no means of avoiding the crash.
In a written statement he said he was driving below the speed limit as he knew the stretch of road was difficult to navigate.
He said: “There have been a number of serious and fatal collisions on the road. I feel strongly that the speed limit is too fast and should be reduced.”
Speaking in court, Yasmin’s mother Helen, 47, echoed this, saying her daughter usually caught the train to work so did not know how to handle the bends.
She said: “She would have been guided by the 50mph limit, not knowing the road. Clearly it should be lowered.”
PC Chambers, from Avon and Somerset Police’s collision investigation unit, said: “I believe the crash was caused by a combination of lack of experience, the condition of the vehicle and the speed she was travelling through the bends.”
Assistant coroner Dr Peter Harrowing ordered a review of safety measures along the stretch of road where Yasmin lost her life.
Yasmin had held a driving licence for three years, passing her test following invasive surgery to correct the curvature of her spine caused by scoliosis.
Outside court, Yasmin’s parents said Yasmin was an inexperienced but careful driver.
“Because of her back, she wasn’t a fast driver,” her mother explained. “Any bump she’d go over would be uncomfortable for her.”
Her father Paul, 48, said his daughter had been full of life and loved her job at Artizan hairdressers in Bath.
“She lived her life,” he said. “In her short years she packed it in.”