Mud on roads

Mud on roads can be dangerous for cyclists, motorcyclists, cars and other vehicles. It can also block drains and gullies, leading to localised flooding.

It’s against the law to leave mud on public roads. Farmers and other vehicle operators who drop mud on the road must clean up after themselves. If they don’t, they could be liable for any accidents that are caused by the mud.

If a problem with mud on a road is reported to us, we’ll investigate and try to contact those responsible for them to fix the problem.

If we have to clean the road then we are legally entitled to recover reasonable expenses from the person responsible for the mud.

What you must do

If you’re using vehicles or have livestock that is likely to leave mud on the road, you must:

  • do everything possible to prevent mud being deposited on the road. This includes cleaning mud from vehicles, as far as practicable, before they are taken onto the road. The fact that cleaning mud off tractors and attachments is commercially inconvenient may not be a defence in law.
  • use an authorised slippery road sign. The recommended sign shows the ‘Slippery Road’ triangle with ‘Mud on Road’ sub plate. If appropriate, the ‘Men at Work’ sign should be used. Signs must be at least 750mm.
  • make sure signs are positioned to give maximum visibility and warning to other road users.
  • clean the road as necessary during the working day and always at the end of the working day.
  • ensure that labour and equipment is available and is suitable for the soil and weather conditions present.
  • where a contractor is used, ensure that prior agreement is reached on who is responsible for mud on road issues (signage, cleaning, etc.) and ensure that adequate public liability insurance is in place.

These notes are for guidance and are not intended to be a full statement of law or definitive guide of responsibility, so compliance with it alone does not automatically provide exemption from liability or a suitable defence.