Can I Drive With A Cracked Windscreen?

Can I Drive With A Cracked Windscreen?

I think we’ve all been there. Driving along, happy as Larry, when a sudden, sharp, very loud sound frightens the life out of you. And on closer inspection, you find that a pebble has targeted your windscreen in a vicious attack that has left you with a cracked windscreen. Goody(!) Now you’re going to have to get it replaced – right?

Well, interestingly enough, a cracked windscreen isn’t the end of the world. In fact, a lot more people are driving with a cracked windshield than you might think. Here are a few bits of advice to help you figure out how to deal with a cracked windshield. As well as whether or not it is safe to drive with the crack you have.

How do you stop a crack in your windshield from spreading?

According to Fleet Motorglass, there are several ways that you can prevent a cracked windshield from spreading:

  • Avoid parking in the sun – Glass has a tendency to flex in varying weather conditions, just as metal and wood expand and contract. As a result, parking your car in the sun can run the risk of the heat causing movement in the glass that can extend the crack.
  • Find shelter where possible – Just like with high heat, keeping your car out of the way of wind, rain and cold is also important if you’re wanting to avoid the windshield crack getting bigger.
  • Keep a windshield repair kit handy – This is something worth having in an emergency. They have a specialised resin and windshield adaptor designed to do a quick, temporary windshield repair. This quick job can help prevent a crack from worsening until a professional can take a look at it.

Homemade Temporary Fixes

Image credit: Canva
  • Super glue – If you’re in a pinch and can’t get anyone out to repair your windscreen, superglue can be an extremely helpful tool. Super glue can help to stop the crack from expanding by simply applying it carefully along the crack and spreading it uniformly if possible. Allow it to dry completely before setting off if you can. Though do bear in mind that superglue is made brittle by water so you’ll want to get your car to a garage for repairs ASAP.
  • Clear nail varnish – Easily the most temporary of fixes is clear nail varnish. First, ensure that you thoroughly clean the cracked area. You’ll need to apply a generous layer of clear varnish over the entire crack as well as the area surrounding it. If you can, apply it to both the inside and outside of your window.

Please bear in mind that all of the measures listed above are purely temporary. You will need to get your car seen by a professional as soon as possible if you want to avoid a large crack or breakage.

Will a cracked windscreen fail an MOT?

This depends on where the crack is located. If the crack is large enough to hinder the driver’s line is sight then yes, it will fail. Additionally, even if it is a small chip, if it is on the driver side of the windscreen it can also have the potential to be an instant MOT fail. One more thing that could affect your MOT result is if the crack is in the area swiped by your wiper blades and impacts their effectiveness.

safe area for a cracked windscreen
Image credit: RAC

How big of a crack can be repaired on a windshield?

Typically a crack no larger than 3-inches long are easiest to repair. In terms of chips, you’ll want to go no bigger than 1-inch in diameter. It is possible to fix larger chips and cracks. However, if you’re looking to fix a large area of damage always seek professional advice. It’s not worth the risk of patching a large crack up yourself. Nor it is worth leaving in the hopes it doesn’t get any bigger.

Is it illegal to have a cracked windscreen?

The Highway Code states that drivers should have a full view of the entire road ahead of them. It also states that the windshield glass should be kept in a good condition. If your cracked windshield is hindering your ability to see the road in its entirety then it could be considered a motoring offence.

If you have a crack large enough to be considered an offence, it can result in three points on your license and a fine. The legal response would be more severe, however, if you were to have an accident whilst driving with a cracked windscreen. You would be more likely to be marked as responsible for the accident if your windscreen was cracked prior to the accident occurring.

Is it safe to drive with a cracked windscreen?

You can certainly drive with a cracked windscreen, but it is not advisable. If you’re thinking of taking any long road trips this summer you’ll definitely want to get it fixed professionally before you head out. Rough road surfaces combined with harsh elements can be detrimental to your windshield’s resilience. Keep to easy journeys whilst it’s cracked. That includes short commutes to work and trips to the shop.

Image credit: Canva

A cracked windscreen can heighten the risk of multiple problems. Hence the importance of getting it repaired ASAP. A few examples of how a cracked windscreen can be dangerous are:

  • Weakening of the chassis – Windscreens are a key point of support for the car chassis and frame. A damaged windscreen loses some of its structural integrity. As a result, the entire structure of the car is weakened. A rolled car would be more likely to collapse in on itself with a damaged windscreen.
  • Impaired vision – If the cracked impedes your ability to see the road the risk of having an accident skyrockets.
  • Lessened impact absorption – A side-effect of a weakened chassis is the effect on the cart’s ability to absorb impact. The glass is will be more likely to shatter on impact. This allows the car to buckle more so than it would have done with a full windscreen.
  • Weakened Barrier – The windscreen operates as a barrier to protect you from being ejected during an accident. The weak point in your window will effectively nullify that protection.

The moral of the story here is that, should your windshield crack, get it fixed. We understand that it’s not possible for many people to have done immediately. However, we implore that you seek a professional repair job as soon as you are able.

Eloise

Eloise

Eloise is a lifelong gamer, a studier of Ancient History and Archaeology, a pet care journalist, a new mother of one, and film studies graduate with a desire to pass on her own knowledge so that others may benefit from it.

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