Ever had a cracked windscreen and wondered if it is still safe to drive or if you might be driving illegally? And even if it is legal, should you do it?
Let’s get to that second question later. Firstly, what is and isn’t legal to drive with depends on the type of damage the windscreen has sustained. Generally, it is illegal to drive if:
* The area covered by the windscreen wipers is cracked, discoloured or damaged to the point that you cannot see well enough to drive safely.
* The damage is to a laminated windscreen
* The windscreen has a crack that is deeper than one layer of glass (there are generally three layers of glass in a windscreen)
* A star or bullseye crack of over 16mm in diameter or one crack over 150mm in length that obstructs the driver’s view
If your windscreen is damaged to the point where you, as the driver, cannot clearly see traffic around you, you can safely assume that you will get pulled over and fined or given a notice to repair the relevant damage before you drive again.
Don’t quite have that level of damage? You likely won’t get a free pass from the local police; if you are pulled over and have enough damage to the windscreen, you may be requested to have a roadworthy test done (which may or may not pass), or be requested to have your windscreen replaced.
So, if you don’t have a lot of damage to your windscreen, should you even worry about getting it repaired or replaced? Absolutely you should have it replaced.
Did you know that a damaged windscreen can increase injury if you were happened to be involved in a car accident? The sudden jolt of being hit or rolling the car can cause the screen to crack and shatter. A small crack or chip can easily turn into major damage before you realise. Every time you drive the car, the existing crack or chip is damaged further. Over time, this damage gets worse and can result in something as simple as a crack that needs to be repaired quickly, through to a shattered windscreen – and no one wants that to happen when driving down the highway.
Why is it Illegal to Drive with a Cracked Windscreen?
The reasons behind not driving with a cracked, smashed or chipped windscreen is straightforward, and it’s all about road safety. A crack can form in front of the driver, blocking their full vision of other traffic on the road. It’s not just the crack itself either! A light reflecting off the crack can distract a driver making them even more dangerous on the roads.
If your windscreen was to smash while you were driving, you may be at risk of injury from glass shards. It doesn’t matter if your windscreen has a crack or a chip – any damage means the windscreen is weaker, and therefore can become a bigger hazard at any time.
What to do if my Windscreen is Chipped or Cracked?
The best thing you can do of course is to get it fixed. However, there are some options available to you – you don’t always need to go rushing off to get it fixed on the spot.
Bullseye or hairline cracks – don’t put off getting the crack repaired or windscreen replaced. If you have windscreen cover in your insurance, contact your insurance company to organise repair or replacement as soon as possible. If you don’t have this insurance, contact a windscreen repair company who can help you organise a repair or replacement. While waiting, cover the crack with quality sticky tape inside and out – this will assist in keep dirt and water outside the car.
Small crack that occurs while driving – stop and check the crack when it is safe to do so. While you should be able to keep driving, especially if it is just a small distance, make sure you get it repaired as soon as you can. What can be a small and easy crack to fix may end up in a replacement windscreen.
Crack or smash due to incident – if you get a major crack or a smashed windscreen when driving (through a rock hitting your windscreen or an accident), pull over to the side of the road and call your roadside assistance. If there was another party involved (i.e an accident), make sure to get their details for your insurance. Your roadside assistance will likely organise your car to be towed or for an emergency windscreen repair as needed.
Remember: here in Western Australia it is illegal to drive with a crack in the windscreen that impairs the vision of the driver. If you have a crack or chip in your windscreen, Autoscreens can come to you. Our mobile service can repair chips and cracks or replace an entire windscreen at your home or office in the Perth metro area.