What rules surround driving with a cracked windscreen

Driving in the UK always brings the possibility of a cracked windscreen. Particularly as we head into winter and more grit and grime takes to the roads, getting a chip or a crack in your car’s windscreen becomes a more common issue.

But what rules surround driving with a cracked windscreen and is there anything you can do to prevent further damage? Let’s take a look.

What causes my windscreen to crack?

A crack in your windscreen can occur because of a number of reasons. Let’s take a look at what might cause it.


Temperature plays a big part in the development of a cracked windscreen. During the summertime, you might not even notice that a chip has occurred. They’re sometimes small and can be in less-than-obvious areas.

But when the temperature drops, it can force that chip to develop into a crack. Plus, if there are any existing weaknesses in the screen, a drop in temperature can also force this to develop. Likewise, if you’ve experienced a warm day followed by a cool night, this change can also cause further issues. Sadly, there’s not an awful lot you can do to stop the temperature affecting your screen!


Chips are what tend to be the main source of a larger crack. They occur from the windscreen being struck by smaller items. This is most often larger bits of gravel, but foreign objects such as bolts or screws can also cause a chip.

Thankfully, if they’re not too large then chips can be professionally repaired. The chip is injected with a resin, which expands to the size of the area and then sets solid. When done properly, these kinds of repairs can hold up for many years. This process is also significantly cheaper than having to replace the entire screen.


Larger impacts can cause cracks in your windscreen right away. During windier weather, larger branches and sticks can fall and cause immediate damage to your windscreen, while during winter, larger hail stones have been known to crack a screen.

But cracks can also be caused by objects flying off vehicles in the road ahead of you. Improperly secured loads can quite easily fall and impact a screen - so look ahead of you and be wary of anything that could fall off.

Am I able to drive with my windscreen while it’s cracked?

Driving with a cracked windscreen isn’t at all advisable. In fact, it could see you landed with three penalty points and a fine if it’s deemed that the crack is impeding your ability to safely operate the vehicle. Plus, if you were involved in an accident and found to be driving with a cracked screen beforehand, you could be hit with a more serious motoring offence than you would otherwise have had.

Your car will also fail its MOT if a crack is longer than 40mm in size anywhere on your screen. An MOT test also divides your screen up into zones and if there’s a crack larger than 10mm in Zone A - which is directly ahead of the driver - your car will also fail.

Will my insurance pay for a new screen?

If your windscreen is cracked and needs replacing, then it’s a good idea to see if your insurance has cover for it included. Many providers give windscreen replacements as an add-on, otherwise you’ll have to fork out for the repair yourself.

However, it’s always best to get a cracked windscreen replaced right away, otherwise - as we mentioned earlier - you could be hit with fines and penalty points.

Need help replacing your windscreen? Get in Touch

Windscreen close up



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