The Reasonable Driver v. The Ideal Driver

Published: 26/02/2020 | News

Lee Evans of Farrar’s Building successfully represented a Defendant driver in a liability trial at Central London County Court last week. The key issues were:

An elderly pedestrian stepped from the pavement and into the carriageway from between parked cars. 

The Defendant driver saw the Claimant step from the pavement and move between the parked vehicles. 

The Claimant moved into the path of the Defendant’s vehicle, resulting in orthopaedic injuries and a brain injury. 

The judge concluded that in the circumstances, the Defendant driver had acted in a reasonable manner. The relevant test was detailed in Stewart v Glaze [2009] EWHC 704: 

“5. I have to apply to Mr. Glaze’s actions the standard of the reasonable driver. It is important that the court does not unwittingly replace that test with the standard of the ideal driver. It is also important to ensure that, particularly in a case with accident reconstruction experts, that the court is not guided by what is sometimes referred to as 20:20 hindsight. In Ahanonu v South East London & Kent Bus Company [2008] EWCA Civ 274, Laws LJ said:

 “There is sometimes a danger in cases of negligence that the court may evaluate the standard of care owed by the Defendant by reference to fine considerations elicited in the leisure of the court room, perhaps with the liberal use of hindsight. The obligation thus constructed can look more like a guarantee of the Claimant’s safety than a duty to take reasonable care.”