A KILLER road has claimed two more lives in separate smashes within just four days.

Both of those killed were passengers in cars involved in collisions, on the A171 Guisborough to Whitby moors road; one on Saturday, the latest, on Tuesday night.

Mother of two Joyce Gawthorpe, from Great Ayton, was killed in a two-car smash near the Scaling Dam Reservoir on Saturday.

An inquest into the death of the 53-year-old, who was regional spokeswoman for Crimestoppers, was opened and adjourned yesterday.

Cleveland Police have not yet named the 35-year-old male car passenger, believed to be from Lingdale, east Cleveland, killed near Lockwood Beck Reservoir, late on Tuesday night.

Redcar and Cleveland Councillor Steve Kay said last night: "It's one of the most dangerous roads in the north, the A171. It's undulating, it's windy. People often get frustrated because it's difficult to overtake.''

The council recently carried out road improvements, including introducing a 50mph speed limit, extra road lining and warning signs.

A sign erected at the foot of Birk Brow before the two latest death smashes warns motorists of 51 casualties on the moors road in just three years. The sign also congratulates drivers on a 54 per cent reduction in accidents on the A171 over the same period.

Coun Kay said: "In an ideal world, we would like the whole thing to be a dual carriageway, but within the strictures of the council budget, the council has done everything it can.

"Money would have to come from the Government, but to make the road significantly safer, that would be the only answer.''

Tuesday night's tragedy happened, say Cleveland Police because a blue Corsa crossed on to the wrong side of the road to overtake a stationary white minibus or people carrier, and collided with an oncoming black Volvo car.

The man who died was the front seat passenger in the Corsa, whose driver is being interviewed by Cleveland Police.

Police say the driver of the white vehicle may have vital information relating to the fatal collision.

It was "imperative'' that he contacts the police on (01642) 301558.

* Just hours before Tuesday night's tragedy, there was a third accident when firefighters had to free a 49-year-old woman passenger with chest injuries and a broken right ankle who was trapped in a car which had ploughed into a tree.