A coroner has called for action amid fears that confused motorists could end up stuck on the wrong side of a main road after crossing a bridge – and in the path of oncoming traffic.

North West Wales senior coroner Dewi Pritchard Jones has issued a report to prevent future deaths to the Welsh Government after the tragedy of pharmaceutical rep Elijah Shotade, aged 31, of Bilton, Rugby, who’d overtaken two vehicles while crossing the Britannia Bridge from the mainland to Anglesey when there was a crash.

The bridge is used by many lorry drivers, holidaymakers and other motorists who travel along the A55 dual carriageway to and from the port of Holyhead. It has single lanes.

Mr Pritchard Jones said Mr Shotade hadn’t returned to his side of the bridge and continued in the eastbound carriageway until he collided with an approaching lorry.

“My investigation, to date, shows that there have been numerous, almost identical, collisions and incidents,” the coroner warned. “My investigation, to date, would suggest that motorists driving westbound, having been used to driving along the dual carriageway of the A55, enter on to the Britannia Bridge (which is not a dual carriageway) but seem to behave as if the eastbound lane is the offside lane of a dual carriageway.

“The result of this is that they find themselves in the eastbound carriageway of the bridge and on leaving the bridge they are unable to turn to their nearside lane due to the presence of barriers. The situation is made worse by many sat-navs directing the motorists to ‘bear right’ on leaving the Britannia Bridge.”

The coroner warned of a risk of future deaths unless action was taken.

His fears emerged at the opening of a Caernarfon inquest into the August tragedy.

The Welsh Government said North Wales police first highlighted a potential issue last January after two incidents at the end of 2017. One involved a serious head-on crash between a Polish man’s van, which went the wrong side of the central barrier, and a car. The second involved a westbound vehicle entering the wrong carriageway apparently because of a sat-nav instruction, although no crash occurred.

Officials said checks showed no pattern of similar collisions recorded in the previous five years. They decided, however, to reinforce safety.

Tragically, work was scheduled to begin in September – just after the fatal collision. The Welsh Government said work to extend double white lines banning overtaking on the whole length of the bridge and lane direction arrows had been completed. Sign improvements would follow. But officials said drivers were responsible for obeying road markings and signs and shouldn’t follow sat-nav instructions if likely to endanger other road users.

“The works outlined seek to reinforce the driver’s understanding of the road layout at this location. However, ultimately drivers remain responsible for ensuring they do not fall below the standard expected of a competent and careful driver,” a Welsh Government official added.