A GROUP of friends are lucky to be alive after they were forced off a busy dual carriageway by a man who tailgated them for five minutes.

Lauren Osbourne, 23, was driving on the A120 towards Osea Island, where she works in entertainment, with two of her colleagues.

Miss Osbourne had reached the Great Dunmow slip road for the B184 when the driver of a blue car, believed to be an N registration Saab, pulled in front of her car and slammed on his brakes.

Miss Osbourne swerved and her car plummeted down what she described as a 30ft ditch, filled with nettles.

She said: “The police said we were lucky to be alive. We could have been dead and he just left us.

“He needs to be caught because if he can do that with me and drive off, he could do it to someone else and they could actually die.”

Braintree and Witham Times:

Bethinn Williams, Lauren Osbourne and Mary Kavanagh.

Miss Osbourne had been driving in the outside lane when the driver, a man in his late 20s or early 30s, drove so close to her car she was unable to see his number plate.

She said: “I couldn’t get into the left-hand lane so he could pass me. He was there for about five minutes.

“I managed to pull in and he looked at me then pulled in front and slammed the brakes on. Then there were lots of trees. My friend shouted ‘get out, get out’.”

Miss Osbourne and her two passengers, Bethinn Williams and Mary Kavanagh, were left to climb out of her written off Peugeot 208.

Braintree and Witham Times:

Witnesses who saw the car veer off the road stopped to help the girls, who were unhurt. Witnesses to the incident at about 7pm on Sunday should call police on 101.