Leaving an aggressive note on someone’s car could see you falling foul of the law – and this is what you need to know about it.
With around 32.5 million cars in the UK, motorists who park frustratingly – or cause damage to other vehicles – are not uncommon.
But if you react by leaving a strongly-worded note on the offending driver’s windscreen – as seen on countless social media posts – you could be committing an offence yourself.
Graham Conway, Managing Director at Select Car Leasing, says you potentially leave yourself open to a libel action or being accused of damaging the car you leave a message on.
Select’s Mr Conway reveals: “When it comes to perceived behaviours on the road or in car parks, responding aggressively – either through verbal or physical gestures or by leaving notes – is rarely a recipe for a productive conversation.
“While leaving a note on a motorist’s car to vent your anger might be tempting, we’d urge people to think twice.
“If the motorist you’re targeting drives for a living, you could also end up defaming them, or their business, by making accusations about how they behave, which could cause reputational damage.
“That’s particularly true if the note you leave is clear and visible for others walking past to see and 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.”
Those thoughts are echoed by Dominic Smith, Director at Patterson Law, the UK’s largest road traffic offence legal specialist.
He says: “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.”
Responding to what you see as poor driving by accelerating, braking or swerving your car suddenly is also a big no-no.
Mr Conway adds: “Not only will this aggravate other drivers, but you will also put yourself at risk, reducing your car control.
“The best thing is to stay calm and drive sensibly so as not to make the situation any worse.”
If you’re involved in an accident, you should also be as factual as possible when making notes about the incident to 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 your 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. Writing it online or by telephone 101 is not enough.
Don’t Block Someone Who Has Parked on Your Driveway
There is no criminal law against a stranger parking on a driveway without the homeowner’s consent. However, a driveway is part of private property, so therefore, by driving on it, the motorist would be trespassing.
However, if someone parks on a driveway and another driver blocks a car, this can be considered a criminal offence if you obstruct the public highway.
But if you do anything to the offending vehicle, you could also commit a criminal offence. This includes causing damage, moving it or deploying a wheel clamp.
If the vehicle obstructs the road, you can call your local authority and have it towed.
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