Is there any car maintenance issue more frustrating than a cracked windscreen?
Arguably not, with some of the most common causes including road debris, bad weather conditions, sudden changes in temperature and collisions.
However, is this common problem simply an annoyance that can be dealt with at a later date? Or should it be fixed immediately because you risk being prosecuted for dangerous driving?
Keep reading to find out whether driving with a cracked windscreen is against the law, plus what problems a cracked or chipped windscreen can cause and what you should do if you face this problem.
Is it illegal to drive with a cracked windscreen in Australia?
In a nutshell, yes, it is, although it is dependent on where the crack is, how severe it is, how deep it is and how much it obscures your vision.
As a rule, if the crack or chip impairs your vision, then you should not be driving the vehicle. The specific road rules do differ slightly between states, but if you are in doubt of the severity of your car’s crack, chip or scratch, it is always recommended to contact your local broken windscreen repairers who can advise you on how to proceed.
Always remember that if you are unable to drive properly, you are not only putting yourself at risk, but also other drivers and pedestrians around you.
Why is it illegal to drive with a cracked or broken windscreen in Australia?
There are a few reasons why driving with a cracked, chipped or broken windscreen is illegal in Australia, all of which relate to the diminished safety aspect of driving.
A lack of visibility
A cracked or chipped windscreen can severely impede your vision as a driver, making you more likely to crash or collide with another vehicle. Cracks can also catch the light easily, causing your vision to be further impaired.
An increased risk of smashing
Once a windscreen becomes cracked or chipped, it is much more likely to smash, as the glass will have become significantly weaker. You and your passengers are also at risk of glass shards as they may drop into your vehicle from the crack itself.
What should I do if I notice a small crack in my vehicle?
If you notice that your car has a very small crack or hairline crack while you are out and about, it is probably safe to continue driving, although you may want to pull over to inspect the crack further. However, you should contact a windscreen repair company as a priority as the crack may start to grow and this will be a lot more expensive to repair.
What should I do if a major crack occurs while I am driving?
If a significant crack occurs while you are driving your vehicle, then you should immediately pull over as it is illegal to drive your car in this condition. You will then need to call roadside assistance to tow your car, as you will be unable to drive it again until the required repairs have been carried out.