Scores of unhappy pedestrians have submitted numerous complaints to police after having been splashed by motorists driving through puddles, according to new figures.
Police forces across England and Wales have revealed that soggy walkers have often accused careless drivers of swerving into standing water deliberately to hit them while driving past.
In total, 63 reported incidents of motorists splashing pedestrians were received between 2009 and 2014, according to police, with victims as young as 10 ringing up to complain.
Some have claimed that they were deliberately targeted by drivers, while some have even complained that the police themselves were the perpetrators.
One victim said that a bus driver purposely accelerated through a puddle to soak nearby pedestrians, while one police officer was forced to apologise after driving a 4×4 through standing water.
Several other motorists have been tracked down and given driving advice, while many more offenders are reportedly still at large and can’t be traced.
Duty of care
Chief examiner of the Driving Instructors Association, Mike Frisby, said: “Motorists have a duty of care not to splash pedestrians. Normally the maximum penalty would be to get somebody’s clothes dry cleaned – it’s not imprisonable – but splashing can be easily avoided.
“It’s probably not widely known by pedestrians that they can report incidents if they’re splashed, but we don’t really want to engage in a culture where people are going to report every little incident.”
Regardless, victims have been quick to report splashing incidents, with one particularly unlucky Gloucestershire resident claimed to have been soaked “at least five times” by speeding drivers.
Another concerned citizen reported how a young male driver was “swerving across the road, deliberately driving into puddles” to splash children on their way home from school.
“We frequently hear stories from pedestrians who have been splashed, from pedestrians who have to take avoiding action so as not be splashed,” a spokesman for campaign group Pedestrian Liberation said.
“And also of councils that show precious little interest in sorting out the dips in the road and blocked drains that are the source of the puddles in the first place.”
Last month, drivers were warned about the need to keep an eye out for people on the streets, particularly during the busy Christmas and New Year period to avoid hitting drunk pedestrians.
Figures released by Confused.com showed that one in seven pedestrians injured on British roads were drunk at the time of the accident, with young people aged between 18 and 24 the most at risk.