DRIVERS who ignore small chips or cracks in their windscreen could put themselves at risk of charges much larger than the cost of repairing the damage in the first place.
Cold weather mans your windscreen has a higher risk of developing a crack, especially if you are constantly defrosting it.
Continuously changing the temperature of the glass could cause a distortion, and see even the smallest chip develop into a large crack.
Bumps or potholes in the road can also see tiny imperfections grow at any time, but a number of motorists will ignore them until the problem gets worse.
You run the risk of being slapped with a hefty fine if your windscreen cracks while out on the road.
Drivers are required by law to ensure all glass on their vehicle is well maintained and doesn’t obscure their vision in any way.
A very small crack in the windscreen would likely see you slapped with a £50 Fixed Penalty Notice if pulled over by police.
But if the damage is directly in your line of vision, or you are involved in an accident, you could be hit with a much larger penalty.
Any chip wider than 40mm (or 10mm in the driver’s line of vision) could see your car classified as dangerous, putting you at risk of a penalty for “using a vehicle in a dangerous condition”.
The offence carries a maximum fine of £2,500 and three penalty points – and would also see your motor fail its MOT, or even invalidate your insurance.
Cracks can also unusually reflect light and dazzle the driver, which could expose you to a charge for “failure to have a full view of the road ahead”, which itself carries a maximum £1,000 penalty.
Rebecca Ashton, IAM RoadSmart Head of Driver Behaviour, told Sun Motors: “Being able to see clearly is vital to safe driving, a cracked or chipped windscreen could hinder your vision by making it difficult to see other road users, particularly in glare and dazzling conditions caused by sunlight or when driving at night.
“You should always get your windscreen repaired when you notice a chip rather than wait until the damage spreads, a chip is a lot less expensive to fix than a whole windscreen and very often this is covered on your insurance.
“Damage of more than 40mm anywhere on the windscreen, or if the damage is bigger than 10mm in the area immediately in front of the driver means the vehicle would be deemed as dangerous and not pass an MOT, making it un-roadworthy and therefore not legal to be on the road.
the road laws you need to know
“We advise you incorporate checking the windscreen for damage into your vehicle checks to make sure you can see safely.”
We previously reported how motorists could be charged with careless driving if they don’t keep their windscreen clean.
Drivers can also be fined if their wing mirrors are cracked or damaged, affecting their view of the road around them.