Published: 06:00, 11 September 2021
A popular hairdresser died in a tragic car crash on the A2 after losing control of a Citroen with a badly worn tyre.
Heather Gidlow, who worked at the Cl’haire salon in Canterbury’s St Michael’s Road, was travelling towards the city from her home town of Faversham when the C4 Picasso “somersaulted” off the carriageway in wet conditions.
The Ospringe Road resident was attempting to overtake a HGV carrying scaffolding, on the downhill stretch near the BP garage and Holiday Inn.
She pulled clear of the lorry but as she moved back to the left lane, she lost control of the car, which flipped over and landed off the road.
Ms Gidlow was freed from the wreckage by fire crews and airlifted to King’s College in London, where she was placed in an induced coma.
One week after the crash in March this year, the 52-year-old sadly died from multiple organ failure.
An inquest held at Maidstone’s Archbishop’s Palace heard how the near-side rear tyre on Ms Gidlow’s automatic car was badly worn.
The well-used rubber was excessively worn and the cords were exposed - meaning the vehicle would have failed its MOT.
Analysis by Kent Police concluded that the old tyre and its poor tread depth could have been a contributory factor in the fatal accident - but it was not determined as the only reason.
There were reduced levels of grip due to the drizzly afternoon conditions, yet the rain was not heavy.
Evidence from Highways England was read to the court, with service maintenance manager Matthew Salt relaying the levels of safety on the A2 stretch.
The route regularly comes under criticism from motorists for its numerous potholes and difficult driving conditions when wet.
Mr Salt said the stretch of road has been resurfaced since the crash, but the work was not carried out in response to the incident.
“Surveys show no issues in relation to the road condition, skid resistance condition, texture, rutting, or longitudial variants,” he said.
The court also heard evidence from witness William Field, the driver of the HGV which Ms Gidlow was overtaking before losing control.
“She wasn’t going that fast, probably between 60 and 70mph,” he said.
“She was about 10 metres clear of me when she came back into the left lane but over-corrected and the car started to swerve one way to the other.
“It mounted the footpath and then somersaulted over.”
The Citroen, which also had two dogs inside, landed in a garden near to the junction with New Road.
Mr Field was first on the scene and called 999.
Upon hearing all of the evidence, coroner Bin Patel gave the cause of death as multiple organ failure due a left lung contusion caused by a road traffic collision.
“I have considered whether a report is required to prevent future deaths,” she said.
“I am satisfied there are no ongoing circumstances which require action.”