Can I Legally Drive with a Cracked Windscreen?

Driving with a cracked windscreen is a common concern among vehicle owners in the UK. While a minor crack or chip might seem insignificant, it can have serious implications for your safety and legal standing. This article will explore whether it is legal to drive with a cracked windscreen, the potential risks, and what steps you should take to ensure your vehicle is roadworthy.

The Legal Perspective

In the UK, the law regarding vehicle roadworthiness is clear. According to the Road Traffic Act 1988, it is an offence to drive a vehicle in a dangerous condition. This includes any damage to the windscreen that impairs the driver’s vision. The windscreen is a crucial component of your vehicle’s structural integrity and plays a significant role in ensuring driver safety.

MOT Regulations

During an MOT test, the windscreen is inspected for damage. The inspection criteria are stringent:

  • Zone A: This is the area directly in front of the driver, typically 290mm wide. Any damage larger than 10mm in this zone will result in a failed MOT.
  • Zone B: This includes the rest of the windscreen within the wiper sweep area. Any damage larger than 40mm in this zone will also result in a failed MOT.

If your vehicle’s windscreen has damage exceeding these limits, it will not pass the MOT, making it illegal to drive until the necessary repairs are made.

The Risks of Driving with a Cracked Windscreen

Safety Concerns

A cracked windscreen can compromise the structural integrity of your vehicle. The windscreen contributes to the overall strength of the car’s body and helps support the roof. In the event of a collision, a damaged windscreen is more likely to shatter, increasing the risk of injury.

Visibility Issues

Even a small chip or crack can obstruct your view, particularly if it is in Zone A. This can be hazardous, especially in adverse weather conditions or at night. Reduced visibility can increase the likelihood of accidents, putting both the driver and other road users at risk.

Potential Fines and Penalties

Driving with a cracked windscreen can result in fines and penalty points on your licence. If you are stopped by the police and your windscreen is deemed to impair your vision or the vehicle’s safety, you could be issued a Fixed Penalty Notice. This typically involves a fine and three penalty points on your licence.

What to Do If Your Windscreen is Damaged

Assess the Damage

If you notice a crack or chip in your windscreen, assess its size and location. If it falls within the critical areas outlined in the MOT regulations, you should address it immediately.

Repair or Replace

Minor chips can often be repaired, while larger cracks typically require the windscreen to be replaced. It is advisable to consult a professional windscreen repair service to determine the best course of action. Many insurance policies cover windscreen repairs or replacements, so check your policy details.

Temporary Measures

If you cannot immediately repair or replace the windscreen, avoid driving until it is safe to do so. Using a temporary windscreen repair kit can help prevent the crack from spreading, but this should not be considered a permanent solution.

Driving with a cracked windscreen in the UK is not only a safety hazard but can also result in legal repercussions. It is essential to ensure that any damage is promptly assessed and repaired to maintain the roadworthiness of your vehicle. By taking swift action, you can avoid fines, penalty points, and most importantly, ensure the safety of yourself and other road users.

For professional windscreen repair and replacement services, contact Fleet Motorglass today. Our expert team is dedicated to keeping you safe on the road with swift and reliable solutions.

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