Fourteen years have passed since Anna Hollingworth’s life-changing car crash.
And only now does she feel able to campaign for improvements on the road which has seen almost 50 deaths and serious injuries in the last decade.
Anna was driving along the A682 between Gisburn and Blacko in September 2002 when she was involved in a 100mph head on collision with an overtaking vehicle at Middop.
The driver of the other vehicle was killed and his passenger was seriously injured.
Anna, who was driving to a meeting from Rimington at the time of the crash, suffered a fractured kneecap, a head injury which has resulted in nocturnal epilepsy and continues to live with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The notorious 15-mile stretch of road between Barrowford and Long Preston is rated as one of the 10 most dangerous roads in the country.
From the northern boundary of Barrowford to the county boundary north of Gisburn, 42 people were either killed or seriously injured between January 1st, 2006 and December 31st, 2015.
One newspaper report from the time of Anna’s accident said there had been 10 deaths in the previous four years while another stated in the three years from 1997 to 1999, 20 people were killed or seriously injured.
Anna, who lives in Barnoldswick, has had the constant reminder of that dreadful day in the years since the accident as she regularly uses the road to go to her parents home in Rimington and to get to work where, as a qualified sports coach, she leads primary school PE lessons and after school sports clubs.
The injuries she continues to suffer are not just the mental scars and emotional pain, however.
Anna, a keen hockey player for Clitheroe and Blackburn Northern and member of Trawden AC, suffers soreness in her arthritic knee every time she exercises and this month saw a specialist about a cartilage problem from a fractured rib attachment which occurred in the crash, which itself was only diagnosed five years ago.
This latest diagnosis has spurred her on to do something about the road and she is petitioning Lancashire County Council to make further improvements.
Anna said: “After my accident, it too a long while to get over it and get straight. I didn’t want to go out, I didn’t want to drive, and if my parents were ever late back I would be ringing them worried. It was like I was the parent. I didn’t want to get in to a car for ages.
“After the accident, I was asked by a police officer what I would like to see altered on the road. I wish I had said more at the time but I was still in hospital and in shock.”
Day to day, medication has meant Anna has not had a nocturnal seizure for four years, but the epilepsy will be with her for life.
She had to fight for a second specialist opinion for her epilepsy to be diagnosed in the first place, as the seizures only began after the accident, with the specialist concluding the crash could be the only cause.
Ten long years later, Anna discovered early medical notes from the accident which confirmed she had suffered lesions on the brain.
Anna also suffers memory issues, even having to put her clothes out the night before, and says her condition has affected relationships and stopped her getting the dream job in the RAF.
She said: “Medication has helped. Touch wood, I haven’t had a seizure in years and it has steadied my depression.
“I still forget things. I have to leave post it notes all over the house as to what I am doing and I set constant reminders in my phone as to where I need to be.
“I think it has slightly improved but that is down to having a routine now with my job and not any particular improvement in my condition.”
Anna’s aim is to ultimately see the road out of the top 10 list of dangerous highways and feels its notoriety is almost celebrated.
She would like to see a reduced speed limit to 50mph along the entire stretch, speed limit variations at villages, additional electronic flashing signage on the worst bends and stretches and further road markings.
Lancashire County Council says there is evidence for incidents having reduced following improvements to signs and markings introduced in 2008 between Gisburn and Blacko.
There were 28 injury incidents (four fatal, four serious, 20 slight) in the five years prior to the changes, and 23 injury incidents in the five years following the work on that stretch (three fatal, five serious, 15 slight).
The county council say that further changes are under consideration and the police carry out mobile speed enforcement on the A682 north of Barrowford to the boundary.
A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: “There has been a high record of collisions resulting in deaths and injuries on the A682 between Blacko and Gisburn for many years, and we have continued to monitor the impact of measures to improve road safety that we have introduced over the past decade.
“Many of the incidents are the result of drivers losing control at high speeds, and dangerous overtaking manoeuvres, and measures we have taken to try to reduce these include new road markings and signage which encourages appropriate speeds, alerts drivers to upcoming bends, and discourage inappropriate overtaking. We have continued to maintain and improve these measures, and recently extended the double white centre line system at key points to discourage inappropriate overtaking.
“We are considering a proposal to introduce a 40mph speed limit buffer zone as vehicles approach Blacko on the A682 to encourage drivers to slow down on approach to the built up area and encourage people to obey the 30mph through the village. The measures we have introduced has resulted in a reduction in the number of incidents, however we continue to monitor the situation and discuss possible further preventative measures with the police.”
You can find Anna’s petition on the county council website at http://council.lancashire.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?id=175 and it runs until February 7th, 2017.