1st December 2017
How To Deal With A Damaged Windscreen
Your car windscreen performs an important job - so if you're driving with a damaged windscreen you need to be aware of the laws and risks.
Here we tell you all you need to know to help you prevent or sort your windscreen issues before they become a big deal...
How serious is a cracked windscreen?
Your vehicle's windscreen needs to be kept in good condition. A car windscreen does much more than act as protection from the wind and rain - a clear, undamaged windscreen is vital for good vision.
A cracked windscreen can impair a driver's vision, making it difficult to see approaching traffic and other road hazards. Minor scratches and small chips can even cause problems, making glare from sunlight and other car headlights even worse.
The windscreen is also an essential part of a car's structure. Not only that, an incorrectly fitted windscreen could interfere with the performance of the airbags.
How do I prevent a crack in my windscreen from spreading?
The damage won't fix itself - a crack is often the result of a stone chip that was left unrepaired and then grew into something more serious... If you notice even a small chip or crack in your windscreen, don't ignore it.
It is cheaper and quicker to get small damage repaired than to replace a fully cracked windscreen!
We recommend to get the crack or chip repaired as swiftly as possible. Even if the damage is not in your line of vision, don't put off the repairs – if a small crack is left unrepaired it can quickly spread across the windscreen.
A windscreen chip repair can be done by injecting an epoxy or acrylic adhesive into it. This will seal the chip, preventing moisture and dirt getting into it, and the chip will then be less visible. But a larger cracked windscreen repair cannot be done so easily.
Tips for preventing a cracked windscreen
It's virtually impossible to prevent a stone from hitting your car and causing a cracked or chipped windscreen, however here are some tips which can help with preventing a cracked windscreen:
- In cold temperatures, when windscreens are frosty or frozen, avoid pouring hot water on to the glass – sudden changes in temperature can crack glass;
- Replace your windscreen wipers regularly to ensure they are working properly (we recommend once a year);
- Regularly inspect your windscreen for any small signs of damage and seek immediate repair to avoid small cracks and chips from becoming larger;
- Drive carefully on roads with poor surfaces to avoid stones and gravel hitting the windscreen;
- Drive at a sensible distance from the vehicle in front;
Is it illegal to have a cracked windscreen?
Driving with a cracked windscreen can be considered a motoring offence, constituting use of a vehicle in a dangerous condition.
The Highway Code states that drivers should have a full view of the road ahead and glass should be maintained in a good condition. Driving with a cracked windscreen can obscure your view – if you are stopped, it could result in a fixed penalty of three points on your licence and a fine.
If you're driving with a cracked windscreen and you have an accident, you could be charged with a more serious driving offence – the accident could be your responsibility because you were driving with a damaged windscreen.
Could a cracked windscreen fail an MOT?
Damage to your car's windscreen could result in an MOT failure. If the damage is 40mm in size, anywhere on the windscreen, your car will fail its MOT. The crack will need to be fixed before being re-tested.
Even a windscreen crack of 10mm results in MOT failure if it falls within "Zone A". Zone A is the area of the windscreen that is 290mm wide and centred on the steering wheel - in other words, directly in the driver's line of vision.
If your car MOT is due and you have a stone chip or cracked windscreen, you must arrange for repairs otherwise the vehicle may not be deemed as roadworthy.
It's a common problem for drivers but if a cracked windscreen happens to you, just ensure it is repaired as soon as possible
Very few motor insurance policies offer free windscreen chip repairs any longer – if you don't have windscreen repair cover on your policy we offer stone chip repair for as little as £40 + VAT, so get your windscreen repaired before the damage worsens and requires a costly replacement.