Cambridgeshire police were recently astonished to find a driver on the A1 who was continuing on his way despite his car windscreen being completely shattered. The vehicle, a Mitsubishi L200 Animal, was seen by an ambulance crew at a quarter to ten at night heading southbound on the A1 near Boongate (Peterborough), and they sent in a report to the local police. Traffic police stopped the vehicle and interviewed the driver, a man in his 30s.
Apparently, the vehicle had collided several times with the central reservation, and the windscreen was so damaged that the driver’s view must have been severely restricted. This was an extremely dangerous way to drive, and the man has now been charged with a number of traffic offences. A spokesman for the Cambridgeshire police force stated that they didn’t believe their eyes when they saw the condition of the vehicle, and were amazed that the driver thought he could continue on his journey with his windscreen in such a dangerous condition.
Consequences of a damaged windscreen
Setting aside the fact that it’s lunacy to drive when you don’t have a clear view through your windscreen, especially in the dark, let’s look at the possible consequences of having a damaged windscreen. As we’ve mentioned before, the windscreen area is divided into ‘zones’ and a certain amount of damage is allowable, depending on how much and in which zone.
Windscreen Wiper Zone
A crack or other damage in the area swept by the driver’s windscreen wiper, up to 10mm in size, is allowable. However, as with all glass damage, it’s never a good idea to leave it or it may develop into something much larger if you hit a pothole or some road debris hits your windscreen. Any damaged area larger than 10 mm and the vehicle will fail an MOT.
Damage more or less anywhere else on your windscreen up to 40 mm in size means you are allowed to drive, but again, a windscreen crack repair or replacement windscreen is always recommended as you don’t want to risk a disastrous failure at 70 miles an hour on a busy motorway. This type of failure waits until it’s dark, cold, raining or snowing, and your phone battery will have died at exactly the same time. The point is, a little prevention is worth a lot of cure!
If you do sustain damaged auto glass while out on a journey, as long as the glass isn’t completely smashed, you may be able to drive yourself (carefully) to the nearest repair centre. If you’ve had a major incident and your windscreen is damaged beyond safe driving, you can call out an auto glazier who can carry out a repair at the roadside or in another safe location.
Points on your licence
Don’t continue to drive around with extreme auto glass damage, or you can be pulled over by the police for having a defective vehicle, and even get points on your licence. Don’t forget, the windscreen doesn’t just keep the wind and rain off your face, it accounts for around 30% of the integrity and physical strength of the vehicle body shell.