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Can I Drive with a Crack on My Windscreen?

Written by Thomas

As I settled behind the wheel one crisp morning, my eyes fixed on the cracked windscreen, I couldn’t help but wonder – is it safe to hit the road with this crack?

Join me as we navigate the nuances of windscreen damage, ensuring our journeys are both legal and secure.

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A Crack on Your Windscreen: A Serious Concern

Regardless of where you are in the UK, being knowledgeable about the legality of driving with a damaged windscreen is imperative.

The size and location of a crack or chip on your windscreen can significantly influence the necessary course of action. Notably, if a crack is situated near the windscreen’s edge, the structural integrity of the glass may be jeopardised, making it unsafe to drive.

It’s vital to familiarise yourself with the laws and associated risks of driving with a damaged windscreen.



This blog post is tailored to provide you with comprehensive information to ensure your windscreen remains in optimal condition.

You’ll navigate through the legal implications, and ascertain whether a repair or a replacement is requisite, ensuring peace of mind.

Acknowledging windscreen damage seriously is not only a requisite for compliance with law enforcement standards, but it’s also a cardinal measure for ensuring road safety.

Being well-versed with the risks and legalities of driving with a damaged windscreen will help avert potential hitches.

Moreover, we have encapsulated three primary reasons why the crack or chip might have emerged to begin with, offering a clearer understanding of the issue at hand.

Cracked Windscreen: Should I Be Worried?


It is essential to keep a car’s windscreen in top condition. Not only does it shield against the elements, but it also ensures the driver has an unobstructed view. Unfortunately, any cracks, chips, or scratches can impair the driver’s sight and cause issues with the sun’s glare and headlights.

Moreover, a windscreen is integral to the car’s construction and vital when airbags are deployed. Keeping the windscreen in good shape is paramount for safety.


Understanding the Causes of Windscreen Cracks: A Closer Look


Have you ever noticed a crack on your windscreen and wondered about its origins? You’re certainly not alone. Windscreen cracks are a common issue, often leaving vehicle owners puzzled. However, there’s no need to worry – we have identified the primary causes for you.The main culprits behind windscreen cracks are unexpected impact damage, temperature fluctuations, and improper installation (if the windscreen was replaced in the past).

Close up of a cracked windscreen

Unexpected Impact Damage:


The leading cause of windscreen cracks is unexpected impact damage. This could be due to a stray pebble striking your car while on the road, or an unforeseen accident causing significant damage.However, it’s not only the major impacts that you should be concerned about. Even small, seemingly trivial impacts can lead to serious cracks over time. Initially, these may appear minor, but they can gradually expand and sprawl across your windscreen.

Remember, it’s not just the magnitude of the impact, but also its point of contact that matters. A small stone hitting the edge of your windscreen might cause more damage than a larger one striking the centre.


Temperature Fluctuations:


Moving on from impact damage, temperature fluctuations are another key factor contributing to windscreen cracks.Your windscreen continuously expands and contracts in response to temperature variations.

During hot weather, the glass expands, while it contracts in colder conditions. This ongoing expansion and contraction can eventually lead to stress fractures in your windscreen, particularly as your vehicle ages beyond 7 to 10 years.Rapid temperature changes exacerbate the issue further.

Blasting the air conditioning on a hot day or rapidly heating a frosty windscreen can escalate a small chip into a substantial crack.

Consequences of Improper Installation:


While contending with potential damage from temperature fluctuations, you cannot ignore the risks associated with an improperly installed windscreen. If it’s not securely fitted, the likelihood of cracks significantly increases. Moreover, it could even become dislodged during an accident, compromising your safety.

Leaks are another common issue stemming from poor installation. Water can infiltrate through any gaps, damaging your car’s interior and reducing visibility during heavy rainfall. Furthermore, an ineffective seal may prevent the defrost feature from functioning correctly, posing challenges in clearing your windscreen during cold weather.

Lastly, a poor seal can result in annoying wind noise while driving. Therefore, never underestimate the importance of a well-fitted windscreen – it’s about both preventing cracks and ensuring your safety on the road.

It’s advisable to check if your windscreen has been replaced previously by looking for the manufacturer’s logo on the glass. Absence of the logo likely indicates a replacement at some point during the vehicle’s lifetime.

This check is particularly crucial when purchasing a used car. Verify if the windscreen has been recently replaced and, if so, ascertain whether the previous owner provides any warranty in case it cracks soon after your purchase.

We frequently encounter customers seeking the most affordable windscreen option, especially when they intend to sell the vehicle shortly.

However, at UK Car Glass, while we might not offer the cheapest windscreen, we guarantee high-quality replacements.

Even then, bear in mind that there’s always a marginal 1% risk of a factory defect.

How can I stop a windscreen crack from spreading?


If you spot a small crack or chip in your windscreen, don’t put off repairs. Ignoring the problem could mean it has grown into something more serious. It’s faster and cheaper to tackle minor damage now rather than replacing a cracked windscreen later.

Unfortunately, not all windscreen cracks are easily fixed by a car glass technician. A technician can fix a minor chip by injecting an epoxy or acrylic adhesive. This process will seal the chip off, preventing moisture and dirt from getting in.

Remember that sudden temperature changes also can cause the glass to crack, so don’t pour hot water over a frozen windscreen, as a tip you might have caught on Youtube or social media.

Be proactive: replace your wipers regularly, inspect the glass for damage, and drive carefully on rough roads. Finally, keep a safe distance between you and the car in front.

By taking these measures, you can rest assured you won’t have to worry about windscreen cracks. But if you do, don’t hesitate to get them fixed – the sooner, the better.

What are the consequences of driving with a crack in my windscreen?

It’s not worth the risk. According to the Highway Code, driving with a cracked windscreen can result in penalties.

In the UK, you could receive three points on your license and a fine if caught behind the wheel with a damaged windscreen.

As a driver, you should always have an unobstructed road view.

Always ensure your windscreen is in good condition before getting in the car.


When will I noot need to repair my windscreen from a crack?

If the damage is relatively small, this means a crack or a chip that is barely visible and maybe toward the centre might not be too much of a cause for concern.

But its always safe to say that if your windscreen is significantly cracked or damaged or the integrity of the structure of the windscreen is compromised, there’s a very good chance you will get in serious trouble if you don’t have the vehicle repaired as soon as possible.

Published on June 21, 2023


Thomas is a seasoned car glass expert with a passion that shines through his 16 years of dedicated experience. As an accomplished auto glass technician, he possesses a wealth of knowledge and hands-on expertise, making him a respected voice in the industry. Throughout his illustrious career, Thomas has always been at the forefront of the latest techniques and innovations, ensuring vehicle owners get the best advice and service. His deep understanding of car glass intricacies ensures readers receive information and insights from years on the job.

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