Leaving angry notes on cars: Is it legal? Here’s what you need to know

Blank note on the windscreen of car

Many Brits have experienced frustrating circumstances as a result of other drivers’ improper parking.

There have been times when drivers leave their cars in front of someone’s property, meaning a resident’s driveway is blocked, or often cars can be found left in the wrong parking space.

However, depending on what is written on the message, those who have been tempted to or have already left an angry note may be breaking the law.

Dominic Smith, director at Patterson Law, said: “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.

“If the note was threatening, or abusive – especially if that abuse was racially, religiously or sexually motivated – then that might be an offence.”

Is it illegal to leave a note on someone’s car?

Graham Conway, managing director at Select Car Leasing, states that leaving a frustrated note on a car could leave people open to libel action. 

He explained: “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.

“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.”

If you’re involved in an accident, it’s advised that you be as factual as possible when making notes about the incident so that you can support any insurance claims. 

This includes noting down the date and time of the incident and any other important information that may be helpful when arguing your case.

You must notify a police station or a constable directly as soon as possible and, in all situations, within 24 hours if there is an accident, regardless of who may be at fault.

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