When I got my first car twenty years ago, I was clueless when it came to maintaining it and keeping it in a roadworthy condition. As a result, I had to pay for costly repairs that could have been avoided if the car had been looked after better. I learned my lesson and started reading everything I could about basic car maintenance. I started this blog to share what I've learned in the hopes it will save other new drivers making costly mistakes. I blog about a variety of topics, such as troubleshooting uneven tyre wear, the benefits of regular servicing and maintaining your car during the winter months. I hope you find my blog useful.
The wail of a police siren and the flash red and blue of lights in the rear view mirror can be enough to make the blood of any motorist run cold. As the mind starts racing, trying to piece together may have caught the police officer's attention, most motorists are unlikely to suspect the cause of their problems may begin with their humble windscreen.
It might seem benign, but any sizeable crack that's slowly been creeping across the driver's side of your windscreen is actually illegal and could land you with a defective vehicle notice, and/or a fine. You might get lucky and be instructed to get it repaired or replaced, but in the first instance it's always worth knowing how to avoid landing in hot water over your battered windscreen.
What are the laws for windscreen cracks in Australia?
Both hairline and bullseye cracks that grow larger than a certain size on the drivers side of the windscreen are considered unsafe and can attract fines. Here's what is allowed:
In Australia, you are allowed any two of these defects on the drivers side before you vehicle can be deemed defective as a visibility hazard. Before pulling out the tape measure, it's good practice to get any small cracks repaired to prevent them worsening. Just hitting a small pothole can be enough to make a previously non-threatening crack spread across the entire length of the windscreen, affecting the windscreen's structural integrity and your line of sight.
Other Australian windscreen regulations
If you thought a crack was the only thing you can get fined for when it comes to your windscreen, think again. Window tinting is popular with many drivers but problems with the darkness and condition of the tint can also cause safety issues, even though tinting does has glare reducing benefits.
While different Australian states vary slightly, at least 70 per cent of light must be transmitted through a front tinted windscreen, meaning only 30 per cent of the light can be blocked blocked. Rear and side windows differ greatly. They can block up to 65 per cent of light before they are deemed unsafe. Spray on tints or reflective tinting that could refract distracting beams of light to others on the roads are also not permitted.
It's unlikely that you'll find a tinting business who will agree to tint your windows beyond the legal limits and while its unlikely to cop you a fine, a vehicle won't pass registration safety requirements if existing tint is bubbling, peeling or otherwise damaged.
Use companies like instantwindscreens.com.au to help you avoid the nerve-wracking sounds of sirens when you next take to the roads.