Can I Drive With a Damaged Windscreen?

If you’re asking yourself “can I drive with a damaged windscreen?”, you’ll be aware that a lot depends on just how extensive the damage is. But regardless of how small or large the damage to your windscreen is, even a seemingly innocuous chip could be the reason your car might fail an MOT.

In this article, we’ll explain how your windscreen plays a part in your MOT, what the laws are in the UK and how it is that your windscreen can come to sustain damage.

What could damage your windscreen?

Damaged Windscreen on car










Clearly, an accident can cause huge amounts of damage to your windscreen, but what about smaller cracks and chips? These are often caused by stones and small rocks on the road. When thrown up into the air at great speed by your tyres or other road users, they can chip the windscreen of your vehicle. You’re more likely to see this happen after a downpour of rain has washed stones into the roads.

The weather itself can also play a part in this process, with rapid temperature fluctuations causing damage to worsen over time. If you find that your windscreen is frozen over on a winter morning, do not pour boiling water over it to defrost it – this can put stress on the glass and cause any cracks to spread further. 

Likewise, driving over lots of bumps will cause vibrations and can make things worse when your windscreen is chipped or cracked.


What are the UK windscreen laws?

Driving when your windscreen is heavily damaged can be considered an offence according to UK law since your view of the road is considerably impaired. Were you to be pulled over because of damage to your windscreen, you could be fined and have penalty points on your license.

Essentially, if your vision is compromised in any way by the damage to your windscreen, you will be breaking the Highway Code – which stipulates:

windscreens and windows MUST be kept clean and free from obstructions to vision


Can a damaged windscreen be an MOT failure?

Should a fine and penalties not be enough to move you to action, you should be aware that a chip or crack in your windscreen could mean an MOT failure for your vehicle. This could mean you’d be without your car until the damage is rectified.

Zone A is the key area of your windscreen for the driver’s view of the road. A chip or crack here which is 10mm or more in length is a failure, while damage of more than 40mm anywhere on your windscreen can also result in a failure.

If you want to be sure of passing your MOT, your best bet is to have the damage repaired or your windscreen replaced.


Is it safe to drive with a cracked windscreen?

If you’re unsure about whether it’s safe to drive with a cracked windscreen, the best bet is to avoid doing so until you can have the necessary repairs made. While you might not be in immediate danger, there are two risks involved with a damaged windscreen. Firstly, your view of the road will surely be impaired in some way, and secondly, the integrity of your windscreen may have been compromised, which means it’s more likely to shatter in the event of an accident.


At Auto Exhausts and Tyres, we specialise in MOT testing, with a qualified and experienced team on hand to offer advice should your vehicle not pass for any reason. If you’re unsure about whether windscreen damage would cause a failure of your MOT, or you’d simply like to book in for a test, contact us today and we’ll be happy to help.