Is Driving with Cracked Windscreen Legal in the UK?
The UK is one of the countries very uncompromising when it comes to driving safety. And this is good for all parties on the road – the driver, passengers, and pedestrians. The strict law against vehicle windscreen in particular is laudable because it is preventive rather than reactive. The control makes perfect sense; a defect on a vehicle’s windscreen that’s severe enough can cause undue damage it can result in when not immediately fixed.
Cracked or chipped car windscreens can obscure the view of the driver, especially if it is in the line of sight of the driver. It can also cause a distraction. Both can result in a serious accident that can injure the driver, passengers, or pedestrians, cause destruction to properties, or even be fatal. When left unattended, a seemingly simple crack on your windscreen can grow to a significant size at any time, from the wind, vibration, air pressure changes, or temperature changes.
You may not be informed that the car’s windscreen does not just provide its passengers’ protection from the elements such as the wind, rain, snow, and flying debris. It also adds structural rigidity to the car overall. During a rollover accident, a sturdy windscreen can prevent your car’s roof to cave in.
An accident from a cracked windscreen can also cause you great inconvenience and burdensome expenses from the damages.
Think about all the potential adverse effects of not having the crack on your car windscreen repaired at the earliest possible time can bring.
Driving with Cracked Windscreen in the UK
Driving with a cracked windscreen can constitute the use of a motor vehicle in a dangerous condition in the UK, considered a motoring offence.
Drivers should have a full view of the road ahead according to the Highway Code states. It also requires that windscreen glass should be maintained in a good condition. A cracked windscreen, especially if in the line of vision, can obscure the driver’s view. If you are stopped with these violations, it could result in a fixed penalty of three points on your licence and a fine.
When is a driver’s view considered obstructed by a defect on the windscreen, which is also a reason for failing your vehicle’s MOT ACT/CVCT? A crack 40mm or longer anywhere on the windscreen is an automatic fail. Another MOT failure is a chip or crack of 10mm or more in what is described as ‘Zone A’ on the windscreen. Zone A is within the driver’s direct line of vision, a vertical strip 290mm in width, centred on the steering wheel.
If you fail the MOT test, you have to have the car windscreen repair carried out by a professional service specialist before submitting your vehicle for another test, which is required for the failed vehicle. All the expenses involved, including the retesting, are yours. If you fail because of your damaged windscreen, that’s when you would regret not minding the crack on your windscreen at the first moment you noticed it. You could have spent far less money and time.
You can be in for more trouble if you are driving with a cracked windscreen and you get involved in an accident. You could be charged with a more serious offence. The responsibility for the accident could be attributed to you because were driving with a damaged windscreen.
Remember all the adverse effects a cracked windscreen can bring you. They should serve as a reminder for you to have a repair or replacement carried out at the earliest convenience to avoid all the unnecessary trouble. With or without the law, keeping your vehicle’s windscreen in safe operating condition is the prudent way to be driving.