Failing wiper blades put motorists at risk

Failing wiper blades put motorists at risk

10 October 2019

A worrying 6.5 million cars are being driven by motorists with faulty wiper blades, a poll by Halfords has found.*

17% of motorists polled across the UK claim to have driven with faulty or broken wiper blades.**

The research also found that a surprising 20% don’t know when their wiper blade needs to be changed, while 15% were worried about driving in the rain and cited it as a reason that they put off driving during the autumn and winter months. 

Wiper blades which don’t clear the wind screen properly affects drivers’ visibility and will count as an MOT fail. Driving with a car in this condition could see motorists hit with a fixed penalty notice for driving a vehicle with a part in a defective condition. Police could also view your actions as careless driving, which carries a £100 on-the-spot fine but can lead to a maximum fine of £5,000 if the case is taken to court.

Many drivers (16%) would wait for a garage to tell them a wiper blade should be replaced – despite the fact that an issue may not be picked up for many months during an annual service or MOT – a further 15% would wait until they begin to screech and 13% admitted they simply didn’t know when to change them.

Faye Doolittle, Halfords’ wet weather expert says; “Strong wind and torrential rain could cause trouble for those with dodgy wiper blades. Our research shows that there are likely to be many motorists out there struggling to see as their wiper blades fail to cope with the elements. Poor visibility doesn’t just make driving in the rain unpleasant and more tiring but failing to see a hazard quickly slows your reaction time. This can add several car lengths to your stopping distance and make the difference between avoiding a collision and not.

“As soon as a wiper begins to smear rather than clear your windscreen it is past its best and should be changed. Modern flat wiper blades don’t screech on the windscreen, so drivers listening for this audible warning are likely to miss the signs that their blades aren’t cutting it anymore.”

To help motorists identify whether their wiper blades are passed their best, Halfords offers a free five-point winter check which includes wiper blade checks at over 700 sites across the UK including Halfords and Halfords Autocentres.

To find your nearest winter check store or garage visit or