Is It Illegal to Drive Without a Wing Mirror?

Wing mirrors are the mirrors positioned on either side of your car. They’re there to help you see what’s happening behind you to your left and to your right.

Because they jut out from your car, wing mirrors can be vulnerable. They’re easily damaged, and it doesn’t take much force to smash them off completely.

So say you’ve been involved in an incident that’s smashed or removed one or both of your wing mirrors. Or, you’ve returned to your car, only to find that someone or something has damaged or removed one or both of your wing mirrors. What should you do?

When Can Wing Mirrors Be Damaged?

The annoying thing is, you can be the best and most capable driver in the world, and you still won’t be able to totally protect your wing mirrors from damage.

If you’re parked on a narrow street, all it takes is for a larger vehicle to drive a little too close to clip your wing mirror.

Also, vandals unfortunately exist. Even if you’re parked on a private street, a vandal may still decide to do some damage to one or both of your wing mirrors, just because.

And as we said above, wing mirrors are vulnerable. You could be involved in a minor collision and emerge unscathed. But because your wing mirrors are so fragile, they may still get damaged.

Even the most careful of drivers may still have to deal with a damaged wing mirror. So it’s important to know what to do should it happen to you.

Is It Illegal to Drive Without a Wing Mirror? Or with a Damaged Wing Mirror?

According to UK law, all cars must have at least two mirrors that offer an adequate view of the rear of the vehicle. One of the operational mirrors has to be the offside rear view mirror. That’s the one that’s attached to the driver’s door. If that gets damaged, then it’s illegal for you to drive your car. But if the nearside wing mirror gets damaged – the one that’s attached to the passenger door – then so long as your other two mirrors are intact, you can legally drive.

But that said, it’s not a good idea to drive without either operational wing mirror. Even if it’s the nearside wing mirror – which you’re technically allowed to drive without – you may be stopped by the police if you’re caught.

Wing mirrors are there for a reason – to give you as good a view as possible of the road behind you. If any of your mirrors are damaged, the police might look beyond the letter of the law. They may instead simply decide that driving with a damaged mirror is irresponsible, and penalise you accordingly: With three penalty points and a £2,500 fine.

So if either of your wing mirrors ever gets damaged, don’t stop to consider what the law says. Instead, endeavour to get the damage fixed as soon as possible, and don’t drive any further until the damage is repaired.

What to Do If Your Wing Mirrors Get Damaged

Call your insurer. They’ll let you know whether the damage is covered by your insurance, and they’ll advise you on the course of action to take to get the damage fixed.

As it’s a very bad idea indeed to drive with a broken wing mirror on either side, most likely you’ll have to arrange for your car to be picked up and taken to a mechanic. It’s just not worth the risk for you to drive yourself to the garage.

To find out whether broken wing mirrors are covered by your car insurance, please refer to your policy wording.


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