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Your Windscreen Wipers Questions Answered

Reading time 4 minutes • Last updated on March 9th, 2021

Categories Driving Law » Windscreen Information »

Your Windscreen Wipers Questions Answered

Last updated on March 9th, 2021What does this mean?

windscreen wipers checked during MOT testing

Windscreen wipers are a vital element of most road vehicles, ensuring we can see where we’re going even in the most difficult conditions. However, as many as two thirds of drivers don’t know when their windscreen wipers are faulty, and are therefore putting themselves at risk and in breach of the law when taking to the road. In this article The Windscreen Company will answer some common legal questions about windscreens. 

Is it Legal to Drive Without Windscreen Wipers?

The only time it is legal to drive without windscreen wipers is if you can obtain a clear view of the road in front without using the windscreen, or if your vehicle doesn’t actually have a windscreen. If your car has a windscreen but no windscreen wipers, you are breaking the law if you drive it. 

Are Windscreen Wipers Mandatory?

According to gov.uk, ‘every vehicle fitted with a windscreen must have one or more automatic windscreen wipers, unless the driver can obtain an adequate view of the road to the front without the use of a windscreen.’ 

Additionally, every vehicle that has a windscreen wiper must also feature windscreen washers. Only the following vehicles are exempt from this rule:

  • A vehicle which can’t go faster than 20mph
  • An agricultural vehicle first used before 1st June 1986
  • A tracked vehicle
  • A vehicle used to provide a local service (as defined here

Is There a Fine for Driving with a Faulty Windscreen Wiper?

A wiper is considered faulty if it does not adequately clear the windscreen, affecting a driver’s visibility. If you are caught driving with a faulty windscreen wiper, you can be issued with a £50 fine. However, there is a chance that the police might view this as dangerous driving, and they can issue you with a £100 on-the-spot fine. If the case goes to court, the maximum fine increases to £5,000. 

As well as being punished for driving with a faulty windscreen wiper, your vehicle can also fail its MOT if one or both of its windscreen wipers are found to be broken. From a driver’s standpoint, it’s important to note that faulty windscreen wipers can damage the windscreen itself by scratching the glass.

Is it Legal to Have Your Wipers Touching the Sun Strip?

A sunstrip is a band of tinted material that runs horizontally along the top of a windscreen. The strip is designed to block the sun’s glare from any angle, making it easier for the driver to see. If your vehicle has a sun strip, it is illegal for your wipers to touch it or cover it. If your wipers do touch the strip, you should consider fitting shorter wipers, but bear in mind that any new wipers need to properly clear your windscreen in order to comply with the law.

Is it Legal to Drive With One Windscreen Wiper?

Every vehicle with a windscreen must have at least one automatic wiper. As we mention in this article, though, it’s important that the working wiper adequately clears the windscreen so that you can see the road ahead of you. If this isn’t the case, then driving your vehicle is illegal and can be classed as ‘careless driving’.

It’s important to regularly check your windscreen wipers to see if they’re working before you set off on a journey. You should also maintain your washer fluid to ensure that your wipers can do their job properly. If you notice a fault with your windscreen wipers, replace them before you drive your vehicle again. 


Faulty or damaged wipers can cause damage to windscreens, and damaged windscreens need repair or replacement. The Windscreen Company are experienced, trusted providers of windscreen repair and replacement services throughout Ipswich, Essex and the South East, with 24/7 mobile services available to meet you wherever you are. For more information, please contact us today and we’ll be happy to help.

The information within this article was accurate on the date the article was last updated based on the information that was openly available on the topic online. The Windscreen Company accepts no liability for any loss or damage caused by or connected with any error or omission in this article. You should make your own judgement in regards to use of this document and seek professional advice on your particular circumstances.

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