Carelessly splash another road-user and you could end up splashing the cash in the form of a fine, says motoring editor Andy Russell.
A work colleague was bemoaning being drenched when a passing car plunged through a deep puddle.
While it is most inconsiderate, and potentially dangerous as it could lead to the car aquaplaning at speed, it got me thinking about whether it is actually an offence.
Many motorists are not aware that splashing pedestrians is illegal. The Highway Code does not directly mention splashing but rule 227 – about driving in wet weather – says ‘take extra care around pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders’. As well as running the risk of soaking road-users and pedestrians, you could lose control or strike a hidden hazard, like a deep pothole, by driving through puddles.
If you drive too fast through low water and soak pedestrians and cyclists, the police could prosecute you if they see such an incident, especially if there has been no effort made to slow down or avoid the water if it is safe to do so.
Section 3 of the Road Traffic Act, which relates to careless and inconsiderate driving, makes it an offence that carries a maximum fine of £5,000 as well as between three and nine penalty points and possible disqualification.
The law states ‘If a person drives a mechanically-propelled vehicle on a road or other public place without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place, he is guilty of an offence’.
The Crown Prosecution Service specifically includes ‘driving through a puddle causing pedestrians to be splashed’ in its description of this act.
Police advise motorists to try to avoid driving through large puddles where possible but only if it is safe to do so. If they have to drive through a deep puddle, slow down and gently apply the brakes afterwards, when safe to do so, to dry them out.
So now you are aware of the law please also be aware of other road-users and pedestrians in wet weather to keep everyone safe and dry.