MELTING snow is believed to be the reason why a teenager driver lost control of her car seconds before a fatal head-on crash.

An inquest held in Hereford today heard that Jade Marie Smith was travelling on the A40 near Ross-on-Wye when her Vauxhall Corsa was in collision with a van driven by Timothy Price.

Miss Smith, who was 18 and from Meadow View in Ross, was taken to hospital in Birmingham but later died of her injuries.

The Hereford inquest heard evidence from collision investigator PC Viner who had examined March's crash.

He said the teenager lost control of her vehicle on a sweeping bend in the road near Weston-under-Penyard, likely skidding on slush that had formed on the driving surface due to water run off from a blocked field culvert.

Having steered harshly to the right in order to avoid the verge, her vehicle then regained traction and veered into oncoming traffic, where it was in collision with Mr Price's Vivaro van just before 7.30am.

The inquest also heard that telematic equipment in Miss Smith's vehicle had shown she was driving at an average speed of 52 miles per hour in the 30 seconds prior to the collision which was under the 60mph legal limit.

Paramedics were soon on the scene and advanced life support was administered to Miss Smith who was in cardiac arrest.

She was airlifted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where advanced life support and resuscitation was continued to no avail.

A statement from Balfour Beatty confirmed that the road had been gritted that morning in accordance with the weather conditions, and that they had not received any previous reports of water run off on that stretch of road.

Coroner Mark Bricknell recorded that the medical cause of death was multiple head injuries and concluded that Miss Smith's death was the consequence of a road traffic collision.

Mr Bricknell also passed on his condolences to Miss Smith's family.