By James Gratton
Published: Thursday, July 23, 2020
Some drivers may think it’s fun to spray water everywhere by driving through puddles when the roads are flooded.
But this seemingly light-hearted act could actually get you in trouble with the police.
In South Australia, driving past a pedestrian and splashing them isn’t illegal. You can, however, be charged with dangerous driving if police deem you’ve done it on purpose.
According to the Road Traffic Act, a person must not drive a vehicle without due care or attention, or without reasonable consideration for other road users and pedestrians.
If you’ve accidentally soaked an innocent bystander, police will look at a range of factors when considering whether to charge you with an offence. Examples include your speed and whether you attempted to avoid the puddle.
They’ll also consider statements from the person who was splashed and anyone else who witnessed the event.
If the person you splashed was injured as a result of the incident, you could potentially face criminal charges.
You could also be hit with severe penalties, such as lengthy driving bans and hefty fines.
How do I avoid splashing pedestrians?
When approaching a large puddle on the road, you should reduce your speed in order to stay in control of your car.
But be careful, as the puddle may be a lot deeper thank you think.
If the road has signs that say ROAD SUBJECT TO FLOODING or WATER ON ROAD, heed the messages and be prepared to slow down and perhaps even stop to assess the situation.
“Driving through puddles might feel like fun but doing so sprays dirty water for a considerable distance, potentially soaking pedestrians and cyclists,” says RAA Senior Manager Safety and Infrastructure, Charles Mountain.
“Once water gets between the road and your tyres, you can also easily lose control, so if possible, drive around [water on the road] rather than through it. This will avoid spraying it everywhere.”
But it’s not just rain that can cause flooding. If you come across a large body of water on the road, it could have come from a burst water main.
This also means the road surface could be severely damaged. If you suspect you’ve encountered a burst water main, get in touch with SA Water on 1300 729 283.