When it comes to customising a vehicle, window tinting is one of the most popular choices for many. Not only does it provide an added layer of privacy, but it can also protect against the harmful UV rays of the sun and reduce glare. However, in the UK, there are strict laws surrounding the tinting of vehicle windows to ensure road safety. With support from Car Window Tinting Manchester, this article delves into the legalities of window tinting, the requirements one must adhere to, and the penalties for non-compliance as experienced by many customers in Manchester.
The Legal Limitations: How Dark Can You Go?
The UK laws on window tinting are primarily centred around the amount of light that can pass through the windows – often referred to as the Visible Light Transmission (VLT). The legal VLT percentages differ based on the window’s location on the vehicle:
- Front Windscreen: At least 75% of light must be allowed to pass through. This essentially means that you can’t add a very dark tint to the front windscreen, and in many cases, only a clear UV tint is permissible.
- Front Side Windows (Driver & Front Passenger): These windows must allow at least 70% of light through. Any tint that reduces the VLT below this percentage is illegal.
- Rear Windows (Back Passenger & Rear Windscreen): There are no specific VLT requirements for the rear windows. Therefore, these can be tinted darker than the front windows, providing more flexibility in terms of privacy and aesthetics.
Why These Regulations?
The primary reason for these regulations is to ensure road safety. A darker tint on the front windows can reduce a driver’s visibility, particularly during night-time or in low-light conditions. Furthermore, it’s vital for other road users and pedestrians to have visibility into a vehicle, enabling them to anticipate the driver’s actions.
Potential Penalties for Non-compliance
If people in Manchester decide to go against the law and have windows tinted beyond the legal limits, there are consequences. Non-compliance can result in:
- Penalty Charge Notice (PCN): Often, the first step when authorities notice an illegal tint is issuing a Penalty Charge Notice. This is a fine that can vary in amount, depending on the local authority.
- Prohibition Notice: This prevents you from using your vehicle on the road until the illegal tint has been removed.
- MOT Failure: Vehicles are subjected to an MOT test in the UK to ensure they meet road safety standards. A car with illegally tinted windows will fail its MOT.
- Insurance Implications: If you’ve installed a window tint that isn’t compliant with the law, and haven’t informed your insurer, your insurance policy might be voided in case of an accident. Moreover, if you’re involved in an accident and your tint is found to be a contributing factor, you might face serious legal consequences.
What to Do If You Want Tinted Windows?
If you’re considering getting your windows tinted, it’s crucial to:
- Consult with a reputable window tinting company: They should be aware of the legal requirements and be able to advise you on the best options that will keep you within the law.
- Check the VLT percentage: When purchasing DIY window tint kits, ensure you’re aware of the VLT percentage and that it aligns with UK regulations for the windows you intend to tint.
- Inform your insurer: Any modifications made to your vehicle, including window tinting, should be reported to your insurance company to ensure continuous coverage.
Window tinting can enhance the look of a vehicle and provide several functional benefits. However, it’s paramount to understand and adhere to UK laws surrounding this modification. Ensuring your vehicle’s windows are compliant not only keeps you on the right side of the law but also promotes road safety for everyone. Always consult with professionals in Manchester, and when in doubt, choose a lighter tint to avoid potential penalties. Remember, it’s better to be safe – and legal – than sorry.