Drivers warned of £5,000 fine for making little-known mistake

Drivers face a major fine and as many as nine points on their licence for making a little-known mistake while out on the road.

While some motorists may be tempted to drive over puddles when it is raining or following a downpour, doing so could actually land them in major trouble.

This is because if a pedestrian is splashed by the water, it may count as careless and inconsiderate driving under the Road Traffic Act 1998.

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While this is not always the case when a pedestrian is splashed, if it is found to be careless, the driver could face a £100 fine as three points on their licence.

As reported by the Daily Express, if the matter is taken to court and the motorist is judged to have committed an “act of incompetence, selfishness, impatience, or aggressiveness”, then the penalty soars to a fine of up to £5,000 and nine licence points.

Although you may assume this law is not enforceable, it has been acted upon on the past and drivers have been fined by police for purposefully splashing pedestrians.

In 2021, an appeal was launched in Cambridgeshire to locate a driver who drenched a mother after going through a puddle.

The woman was with her two children, including one inside a pram, when the vehicle drove over the 20ft-long puddle and splashed all three.

At the time, a spokesperson for Cambridgeshire Police stated: “On Thursday, January 4, around noon, a mother was with her two children, one in a pram and the other walking alongside her near the junction of Pig Lane and Greengarth in St Ives.

“Due to the poor weather, a very large puddle had built up due to a blocked drain near to the junction which was halfway across the road.

“It was not raining and the puddle, some 20 feet in length, could easily be seen by motorists.

“Unbelievably a motorist drove through the puddle causing the water to soak the three.

“The driver could well have waited to drive around the puddle or driven through it very slowly so as to not cause water to splash anyone on the footpath.”

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According to guidance from the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), lower-level careless driving offences are considered for a fixed penalty, and that the offender should be given the opportunity to attend driver education in most cases.

Motoring editor at Confused.com Amanda Stretton described the offence as a “serious safety issue for drivers”.

She said: “Firstly, drivers have no way of knowing what the road surface is under the puddle, causing unpredictable driving conditions.

“Secondly, the water itself can cause the car to aquaplane – where the vehicle’s tyres fail to grip the road and cause the driver to lose control.

“If that isn’t enough, it’s also just incredibly rude and drivers can be penalised, quite rightly, with a huge £5,000 fine.

“Puddle rage really can lead to big fines.

“To avoid this cost and to ensure their safety, we advise motorists to look out for big puddles when driving, and pay particular attention when there are pedestrians around.”