With cars getting bigger and towns and cities getting more congested, it’s hardly surprising that drivers frequently damage or even wipe off door mirrors. But what is the law regarding damaged door mirrors on cars?
What does the law say about door mirrors?
The law is very strict, set out in rule 33 of the The Road Vehicles (Construction & Use) Regulation 1986.
The main parts of the law state the door mirror must be fixed to the vehicle in such a way that it remains steady under normal driving conditions.
Each exterior mirror must be visible to the driver through a side mirror or through the part of the windscreen that’s swept by the wiper.
Each mirror on the driver’s side of the vehicle should be capable of adjustment by the driver from their driving position.
How many mirrors should cars have?
According to the Department for Transport (DfT), all cars first registered before 1 June 1978 must have at least one external mirror on the offside (driver’s side).
On the nearside (passenger’s), there should be one external mirror or the car should have an internal mirror. That is, at least one mirror fitted externally on the nearside unless a mirror which gives the driver an adequate view to the rear is fitted internally.
Cars first registered after 1 June 1978 have the same rules: two mirrors, one on either side with at least one mirror fitted externally on the nearside unless a mirror which gives the driver an adequate view to the rear is fitted internally.
However, cars registered after 26 January 2010 should have one mirror on either side and an internal mirror.
All these mirrors must also comply with different, increasingly strict sets of European directives. To find out more go to the DfT website.
What about damaged mirrors?
This depends how old your car is. Those first registered before 26 January 2010 can be driven with two of the three mirrors functional, providing one is on the driver’s side. Technically, if the passenger door mirror is wiped off you can continue to drive. However, it’s not recommended.
For a start, cars with unsecured mirrors will fail their MOT. And if you have a crash and it’s caused by the broken mirror, your insurer may refuse to pay out. It must prove the mirror was responsible for the crash. And you can’t have already alerted it to the damaged part.
If the police stop you with badly damaged mirrors, you could be in line for a £2500 fine.
How much does it cost to repair a mirror?
The bad news is car door mirrors can be expensive items to replace. No longer are they simply things that you look in to see behind. Most of them have electrically adjustable glass. Many fold in automatically when you lock the car. Some of them have heating elements inside them. Others even include the indicators. If you’ve only smashed the glass, you may get away with fixing it for less than £50. However, if the whole unit needs replacing, it could cost hundreds.