Why driving through puddles risks a fine or licence points

Splashing through standing water to soak pedestrians could cost you money – and lead to points on your driving licence. We explain the rules.

Splashing pedestrians advice

Walking along the pavement and getting soaked by a car splashing through a puddle is likely to ruin your day. 

However, karma is on your side. In the eyes of the law, the driver could come off worse. They risk a fine, or even points on their driving licence.

Surprisingly, though, one in three motorists admit to having splashed pedestrians while driving, either intentionally or by accident.

A common occurrence

Splashing pedestrians advice

Comparison website Uswitch undertook a survey of more than 1,200 drivers to discover what drivers do when faced with puddles. 

One in eighteen UK drivers from the sample said they had deliberately soaked a pedestrian by driving through water. Those aged between 17 and 24 were more likely to commit the act, with 32 percent admitting to it.

Whilst almost half of those asked (45 percent) said they would feel remorse, this was not consistent across the country. Scottish drivers were most remorseful, but those from Yorkshire were most likely to feel no guilt at all.

What does the law actually say?

Splashing pedestrians advice

Splashing pedestrians can be an offence of careless or inconsiderate driving, covered by section 3ZA of the Road Traffic Act 1988. 

Inconsiderate driving is the simpler offence to prove. It needs only to show that someone else has been inconvenienced by your actions.

It is used where ‘driving amounts to a clear act of incompetence, selfishness, impatience or aggressiveness in addition to some other inconvenience’.

The Crown Prosecution Service also makes specific reference to ‘driving through a puddle causing pedestrians to be splashed’ in its guidance for road traffic offence charging decisions.

Money down the drain

Splashing pedestrians advice

Given 33 percent of pedestrians would report drivers to the police for splashing them, the risk of punishment is real. Smartphones and CCTV add to the potential for incriminating evidence, too. 

For the simplest offences, drivers could be issued a £100 fine and have three penalty points added to their licence. However, a court could impose a fine of up to £5,000 in the most serious cases.

Florence Codjoe, Uswitch car insurance expert, notes that drivers will also be hit when it comes to renewing their insurance. 

Having a motoring conviction means “insurers will see you as a greater risk and your insurance premiums will increase”.

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John Redfern
U.S. Editor with a love of all things Americana. Woodgrain-clad station wagons and ridiculous muscle cars a speciality.

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