When it comes to your time on the road, safety is the number one concern. For many people, this means ensuring things like brakes and airbags are in full working order. We all know you are not supposed to ignore small cracks in your windscreen, but are they really that dangerous and can you get away with not getting a windscreen replacement for a while?
Essentially, the answer is a big no. Whilst a tiny chip may look inconsequential at first, it will not take too long before it can become a massive issue that can affect your safety on the road, as well as being a driving offence.
Why is it dangerous to have a cracked windscreen?
It is very hard to control debris and stones from flying up and hitting your car potentially damaging your windscreen. Of course, you need to be able to see the road ahead in order to drive safely, and a small chip can turn into a crack very quickly. This can then start to impede your vision, leading to potentially dangerous situations for yourself and other road users. Even if the chip is not on the driver’s side of the windscreen, there is always the chance it will spread and the longer you wait, the bigger the risk.
Many mechanics say the chances of a chip becoming a crack are slim due to the laminated design of modern windscreen glass which is very strong and resilient. However, you may see discolouration in the area of the chip because of moisture making its way into the crack itself.
After a chip has occurred, anything from a bumpy road to extreme cold or hot temperatures could lead to a growing crack – which then means a full windscreen replacement is needed anyway.
Is it illegal to drive with a cracked windscreen?
According to the Highway Code, drivers need to have an uninterrupted view of the road which means any glass not only needs to be clean, it needs to be properly maintained as well. If you get pulled over with a cracked windscreen, you may be seen as ‘driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition’ which will lead to points of your license and a fine.
If you were to have an accident with you, windscreen in such a condition, you could be deemed at fault regardless of the circumstances because you were knowingly driving with damage to an integral part of your car.
Moreover, you will likely fail your next MOT. The limitations for windscreen replacement and MOTs are:
- If damage is 40mm in size or larger, you will automatically fail your MOT (you will need to repair it and then retest your car)
- Any windscreen cracks that fall within the driver’s direct frontal vision (known in the industry as Zone A), you will fail your MOT. Zone A is the 290mm section of windscreen that covers the width of your steering wheel
- If the damage is less than 10mm in Zone A, you can have this repaired. If it exceeds 10mm in this area, you will need to have a replacement windscreen fitted
- If your crack is situated within 3cm of the edge of your windscreen, it will need to be replaced, whereas if it sits outside 3cm, you can have it repaired.
What to do when you notice a chip in your windscreen
When you notice a chip, don’t wait to get it checked out. If you have comprehensive motor insurance, windscreen replacement will likely be included as standard. However, if you are unsure of whether your policy includes this feature, you should check immediately and, if not, request it to be added.
It may seem like an unessential element of insurance, particularly as a chip or crack may never occur, but the cost of replacing a windscreen can be anywhere from £150 depending on the make and model of your car.
When you make a claim on your insurance for windscreen replacement, it may effect your no claims bonus. Even though it is a small claim, it could be wide-reaching on your insurance. Some brokers may increase your next year’s premium, some may take off a year of your no claims bonus, and some may not care at all. Make sure you chat to your broker when getting a quote to see what might happen if you make a claim of this type. You could also opt for full glass coverage which may mean you won’t have to pay any excess.
If you are looking for comprehensive motor insurance with windscreen replacement cover, contact QuoteSearcher today. We work with a panel of expert insurance brokers who will work hard to provide you with a competitive quote.