Drivers warned they could face legal action for leaving angry notes
Hull: Drivers exchange words in heated road rage clash
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With around 32.5 million cars on the road in the UK, motorists who park in a frustrating manner – or cause damage to other vehicles – are not uncommon. However, by taking matters into their own hands, drivers could end up doing more damage than good.
This is because leaving aggressive notes on someone’s car could see motorists falling foul of the law, motoring experts have warned.
Graham Conway, Managing Director at Select Car Leasing, urged drivers to “think twice” before they potentially leave themselves open to libel action or get accused of causing damage.
Mr Conway said: “When it comes to perceived behaviours on the road or in car parks, responding in an aggressive manner – either through verbal or physical gestures, or by leaving notes – is rarely a recipe for a productive conversation.
“And while leaving a note on a motorist’s car to vent your anger might be tempting, we’d urge people to think twice.
“If you touch someone else’s car, perhaps when lifting up a windscreen wiper to leave your note, you could be accused of damaging or scratching that person’s vehicle.”
The expert continued: “If the motorist you’re targeting drives for a living, you could also end up defaming them, or their business, by making accusations about the way they behave which could cause reputational damage.
“That’s particularly true if the note you leave is clear and visible for other people walking past to see and to read.
“What you should do when confronted by any sort of poor behaviour on the road is to remain calm and stay non-aggressive so there’s no escalation of conflict.”
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Mr Conway’s comments were echoed by Dominic Smith, Director at Patterson Law, the UK’s largest road traffic offence legal specialists.
Mr Smith said: “If the note was threatening, or abusive – especially if that abuse was racially, religiously or sexually motivated – then that might be an offence.
“If you are going to leave a note, it’s best to leave-out threats and abuse to ensure no offence is committed.”
Additionally, drivers were warned that reacting to someone else’s bad driving by accelerating, braking or swerving could also land them in trouble.
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Mr Conway said: “Not only will this aggravate other drivers, but you will also put yourself at risk, reducing your own car control.
“The best thing is to stay calm and continue to drive sensibly so as not to make the situation any worse.”
If motorists are involved in an accident, they should be as factual as possible when making notes about the incident, so that they can support any insurance claims.
This includes noting down the date and time of the incident and any other important information which may be helpful when arguing the case.
If there is an accident, whoever may be liable must report the matter to a police station or a constable directly as soon as possible and in all cases within 24 hours.
Reporting it online or by calling 101 is not enough. Motorists also shouldn’t block cars that parked on their driveways.
There is no criminal law against a stranger parking on a driveway without the homeowner’s consent.
If someone parks on a driveway and another driver blocks a car in, this can be classed as a criminal offence if it causes an obstruction to the public highway.
On top of that, if motorists do anything to the offending vehicle, they could also be committing a criminal offence.
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