They’re right in front of us when we’re on the road but we rarely think about our windscreens unless we can’t see through them properly. Even then, hands up if you’ve spent days, months or even years driving around with a chip in your windscreen taunting you every time it catches your eye?
Days, yes. Months, maybe. But it’s likely that not many of us have spent years gritting our teeth because once there’s one chip there tends to be a flow on effect.
In this article we ask ‘how important is an undamaged windscreen’?
Is it Illegal to Drive with Windscreen Damage?
Unfortunately, acquiring windscreen damage is all too easy. And, frustratingly, many times it’s not your fault. It’s the truck in front that flicked up gravel or the random projectile that flew across freeway lanes or the bird that was having a slow day.
Taking fault out of the equation – once it’s there, it’s there – let’s look at what kind of windscreen damage you’re legally allowed to drive with. Or, to what extent it has to spread before you’re driving illegally.
No one wants to be pulled over for a random breath test only to be giving a good talking to by the police officer about driving with a serious defect. You might also be handed a defect notice and have your car deemed unroadworthy (*cringe*).
When it comes to rules around windscreen damage, you’ll find similar rules apply across Australia’s states and territories. It’s best to check with your relevant road transport authority.
As an example, let’s look at NSW. There, a car will not pass a safety check inspection if the windscreen has more than two of the following on the driver’s side:
- A hairline crack up to 30mm long
- A crack from the edge up to 75mm long
- A bullseye crack (ie. chip) up to 16mm in diameter
Why Windscreen Damage is Dangerous
Why the fuss about windscreen blemishes? It’s actually serious business – a crack or chip can reflect the light differently, potentially distracting you enough to drive unsafely.
It can also make your windscreen glass less stable and therefore more likely to smash if hit with something. Ditto if you end up in a collision or roll the car.
It also means if your windscreen does smash you’re more likely to have glass shards flying everywhere. Let’s not think too much about the damage that could cause if you’re driving your family or friends at the time.
To a lesser extent, you may find your windscreen is leaky in wet weather. At the very least this is no good for your dashboard or the carpet underneath.
How to Patch a Windscreen
It’s important to understand that what looks like a tiny crack can quickly spread, making driving a potentially risky exercise.
With a new windscreen costing anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to over $1,000 one temptation is to fix it yourself. Considering the above risks, do you really have the confidence to rely on your nifty fingers and the hold of some kind of epoxy or acrylic compound?
In our opinion? Windscreen crack repair kits are great for a (very) short term solution for small cracks and chips, like getting your car from the roadside to the garage for a replacement part.
Avoid putting yourself at risk. Have a professional repair the windscreen, or completely replace it.
Making Windscreen Repairs Easier
Some car insurance companies (like us) cover windscreen repair as part of the comprehensive car insurance policy. If the windscreen is damaged in an incident that we cover and is repaired rather than replaced you usually won’t have to pay an excess and there will be no effect to your premium.
If the windscreen cannot be repaired and needs to be replaced, your excesses apply.
Another option is to extend your car insurance policy to cover cracks that require the replacement of your windscreen and other window glass. It can equate to as little as only a few dollars a month and can even cover the replacement of anything that may be attached to the windscreen or window glass such as window tinting, demisters or aerials.
Want to know more about our windscreen/window glass extras cover? Check out the product details here.
Have Other Car Maintenance Questions?
We are building a library of ‘how to’ articles, to help you maintain your car outside its regular services. If you want to know more about the ins and outs of caring for your car, check these out:
- How to Check the Oil in Your Car
- 16 Common Car Dashboard Lights
- Sun Kissed and Salty: Great for Your Hair, Awful for Your Car
- Why Is Car Tyre Pressure So Important
- Simple Ways to Pet Proof Your Car Like A Pro
Stay on top of what your car needs and your car will reward you by running smoothly and looking good… or at least not distracting you with its blemishes as you drive!