A woman killed in an M40 car crash could have been distracted by her pet dog in the moments before she spun out of control, an inquest heard.

Ming Xing Ya’s green Ford Fiesta was seen swerving across two lanes before smashing into the central reservation at around 9.45pm on Wednesday November 2.

The impact caused the car to spin across the motorway until it came to a stop astride junctions four and three, when it was hit side on by a grey Mercedes E-Class.

Eyewitness Christopher Morris, driving a Vauxhall Insignia estate, said a Fiesta which he had overtaken just minutes before came ‘thundering’ past him at more than 95 miles an hour.

He said: “I heard a screech and saw no red tail lights ahead. As I got nearer I drove through a lot of smoke and burning rubber in the air.

“I slowed down and through the smoke I could just make out the Fiesta coming to a stop from spinning on the road.”

Beaconsfield Coroner’s Court was told on Wednesday (February 15) that the 46-year-old, from Morden, Greater London, was travelling southbound with dog Billi in the car.

The car was seen drifting from lane three to four before being snatched back two or three times.

The Shanghai born nurse hit the central reservation on a right hand bend at a speed between 74 to 82 miles an hour, causing her electronics to fail.

The car rebounded off the barrier and came to a stop perpendicular to lane two in an unlit section of the motorway.

The darkness meant that any motorists coming towards the car not have been able to see it until it was too late.

The Mercedes smashed into the side of the Fiesta, causing brain injuries to Miss Ya.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Assistant coroner Anne Davies said: “I can’t imagine the terror of sitting there in that lane in an unlit vehicle at that time of night.”

Accident investigator Adrian White said a dead dog was found behind the Mercedes which appeared to have come from the Fiesta.

He said: “In my opinion it’s likely that Ming Xing Ya was distracted for a period of time but I can’t say with all certainty that this was due to the dog in the vehicle.”

And added: "I'm not saying that it is the dog that's caused a distraction but it could be.

"Ming Xing Ya was on a journey from somewhere to somewhere and it's possible that the dog became restless at that point."

The toxicology reports came back clear and it is thought Miss Ya did not fall asleep at the wheel.

Mechanical failures with the car were also ruled out.

Mrs Davies said: “We would speculate it might be that dog.

“It’s almost impossible to form a view as to what caused her to lose control.”

Solicitor friend, Peter Whimster, based in Blackheath, London, paid tribute to his hardworking friend whom he had known for 15 years.

He said: “She came to the UK with nothing.

“She worked her way up from nothing with a very strong work ethic.

“She saved everything she earned and worked all her days off.

“She was very popular with her patients.

“She saved and saved and saved and she just got to the point were she was turning the corner.”

Mrs Davies recorded a verdict of death as a result of a 1, brain injury and 2, road traffic accident.