A DRIVER who pulled out into the path of an oncoming car had little chance of surviving even if he had been wearing a seatbelt, an inquest heard yesterday.

William Bunting, of Piercebridge, is thought to have been delivering firewood to a friend when his Ford Fiesta was involved in an accident with a Ford Sierra on the B6275, a mile south of the village, in March.

The hearing at Richmond Town Hall was told that after pulling out from the Cliff estate junction, Mr Bunting's intention was probably to cross the road and then reverse into the drive of Cliff Bank Cottage.

However, the Sierra driver misinterpreted the manoeuvre and, believing Mr Bunting was pulling out to turn left, moved on to the opposite carriageway. The Sierra braked but was unable to avoid the collision in which Mr Bunting died.

A police examination revealed Mr Bunting had not been wearing a seatbelt, although investigating officer PC David Foster said it probably would not have made much difference as the impact was from the side.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, North Yorkshire West Deputy Coroner Geoff Fell said no one was disputing that Mr Bunting had pulled out into the path of an on-coming car.

However, he said that a little more experience behind the wheel could also have led to Sierra driver Richard James, of Southampton, to have made a different decision about how to avoid the collision.