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Driving with a Cracked Windscreen: Law & Safety

Is it legal to drive with a cracked windscreen? Is it dangerous?

Windscreen’s are tough, but they’re still one of the most fragile parts of your car. All it takes is a stray bit of gravel to cause a crack. And cracks have a tendency to grow…

So let’s take a look at what the law has to say about driving with a cracked windscreen.

Is it Illegal to Drive with a Cracked Windscreen?

A crack in the windscreen can be a driving offence as a crack can cause obstruction to vision. It could obscure your view of the road ahead, which could make accidents more likely. The Highway Code states that “windscreens and windows MUST be kept clean and free from obstructions to vision”.

Penalties for Driving with a Cracked Windscreen

If you’re caught driving with a cracked windscreen, police might consider you to be driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition. This could get you three penalty points on your licence and a fine. And if you’re involved in an accident and it transpires that you were driving with a cracked windscreen at the time, you could get into even more trouble. 

A cracked windscreen could also cause your car to fail its MOT test. Your car will fail if there is damage 40mm in size anywhere on the windscreen. But a crack as small as 10mm will result in a fail if it’s located in the area of the windscreen directly in front of your steering wheel.

What to do about Small a Crack in your Windscreen

Even if there is just a tiny crack in the far corner of your windscreen, you should aim to get your windscreen fixed as soon as possible.

Any crack anywhere can worsen the dazzle and glare from sunlight and other cars’ headlights. Plus, your windscreen is an integral part of your car’s structure. So any damage to it is going to compromise your car’s overall safety. A slightly-damaged windscreen could even cause your airbags to fail in the event of an accident.

And as we said above, cracks can grow. That’s another reason why it’s a good idea to fix any damage to your windscreen as soon as possible. The longer you leave it, the more dangerous it’ll get, and the more it might cost you to have it repaired.

How to Avoid a Cracked Windscreen

There is nothing you can do to stop a small stone, or a piece of grit, from hitting your windscreen and cracking it. It’s just one of those things that happens to pretty much all drivers. However, there are a few things you can do to make a cracked windscreen less likely:

  • Always keep your distance from the car in front. That way, you’re less likely to be hit from any stones thrown up by their wheels.
  • When defrosting your windscreen in winter, use a scraper and a de-icer. Don’t just throw hot water over it. This’ll get you a quick result, but the sudden change in temperature may cause the glass to crack.
  • Don’t let your windscreen wipers get dirty and clogged. Keep them clean and replace them routinely.
  • When driving on a rough or loose road surface, keep your speed as low as possible.

Also, if you’re insured with Go Girl, you’ll get windscreen cover as part of your comprehensive car insurance. We’ll cover the costs of any repairs or replacements subject to terms & conditions – so as soon as you see a crack, you can get it fixed long before it becomes a problem. Head here for more information.