Megan’s Story Part 2: Heather’s Story
In March 2021, through TyreSafe we shared with you the tragic story of Megan Byrne
, the 22-year-old Primary school teacher who lost control of her vehicle due to two under-inflated tyres.
The tyres were run flats and the light was on her dashboard. Visually they looked okay, so Megan put off checking her tyre pressure until another day. Too often people think, “Run flat tyres will be fine,” but they don’t always realise that a run flat tyre should only be driven for up to 50 miles once punctured/damaged and whilst travelling at no more than 50 miles per hour.
On her way from Manchester to her hometown, Megan’s little yellow car collided with a large family car and the impact of the crash was so severe that Megan died at the scene.
TyreSafe have now shared with us the story of Heather, the other driver in the collision.
On Thursday 20th
February 2020, Heather Pinn was on her way to meet a friend along with her daughter who was safely secured in a baby seat in the back of her car. Heather was driving within the speed limit, her car was well-maintained and she was paying attention to the road ahead, however, just seconds later Heather and her daughter were the survivors of a fatal collision.
The weather that day was poor, with high winds, sleet and rain. As Heather was driving past a local pub, a car appeared from around the corner on the wrong side of the road and heading straight for her.
The collision happened so quickly that Heather doesn’t recall if she even had time to brake. Immediately after the impact her thoughts went to her daughter and if she was okay; fortunately she was unharmed.
Police collision investigators confirmed that both Heather and Megan were driving within the speed limit and both were wearing a seat belt at the time. However, two of the tyres on Megan’s car were underinflated, a major contributory factor in the crash.
Heather’s story shows how driving with underinflated tyres can have disastrous consequences for other road users whose only fault is to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Tyres are a vehicle’s only contact point with the road and need to be in good, roadworthy condition to reduce the risk of being involved in an incident.
Despite the emergency services confirming Heather was not at fault in any way, she still struggles with guilt on a daily basis, physical pain, depression and fears of sudden loud noises. Time is slowly healing the worst of the trauma but the incident remains a harrowing, ever-present memory for Heather.
She, like Megan’s parents John and Jo, are bravely trying to use the worst experience of their lives to raise awareness of the importance of checking tyres so that others might avoid a similarly tragic incident.
Heather said: “Check your tyres, please, please check your tyres. Since I have gotten back to driving, I do it when I fuel up, once a month. Check them before long journeys. It’s so important, and if somebody else’s life can be saved because of this then that’s all we can ask.”
Heather continued: “I’ve got a lot of survivor’s guilt. I’m really guilty that I am still alive, even though I really want to be. I feel guilty for the fact that I am still here and she’s not – and that’s really hard.”
Senior Investigating Officer, Sgt Steve Hardman from the Serious Collisions Unit of Lancashire Constabulary was on duty on the day of the collision, said: “I really admire Heather for sharing her story. The impact an incident has on the other party is something that is often forgotten.”
Stuart Jackson, TyreSafe chairman, said: “Heather’s story highlights the devastating ripple effect that driving on deficient tyres can have on other road users. Heather had done nothing wrong and was on her way to drop off late Christmas presents to a friend – the next thing she knows, she’d been involved in a fatal accident and her life has changed forever. Drivers know they take responsibility for themselves and their passengers – Heather’s story should remind them they need to include other road users, too.”
According to research conducted by TyreSafe, approximately one-in-five drivers have never checked their tyres for signs of wear or damage, despite the fact that any driver found to have unsafe tyres could face a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points per tyre. Tyres are one of the leading causes of MOT failures in the UK and accidents caused by poor maintenance and tyre quality costs the economy around £83m a year.
Protyre are proud to be on the Board of Trustees for TyreSafe and we regularly work closely with the charity in order to highlight and promote the importance of regular checks and proper tyre maintenance. As such, we offer free tyre checks at all of our garages. Tyre safety is about much more than keeping yourself and your passengers safe, it is also to do with keeping other road users safe too, so book a tyre check today with your local Protyre to get peace of mind motoring whilst on the roads.
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