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Is It Safe or Legal To Drive With A Crack In Your Windscreen?

how safe is it to drive with a cracked windscreen

Getting a crack in your windscreen is never fun. While your intention may be to get this issue addressed quickly, that’s not always a possibility as life gets in the way. Work, kids, and personal admin can leave barely any time for you to engage in social commitments, let alone fixing issues with your car. This means you end up driving around with a crack, leaving you wondering: is this safe? And what are the legal implications of driving with a chipped window, if any?

As the leading experts on window repair and replacement, Novus walk you through the surrounding car safety and show you how to fix this common issue. Novus also shares the top causes of windscreen cracks – so you know what to look out for and prevent a crack from occurring, and of course, so you don’t exacerbate any damage already caused.

Driving with a Cracked Windscreen: How Safe is it?

How safe it is to drive with a cracked windscreen depends on a number of factors: the crack’s size, shape, location, and external factors can change circumstances. Sometimes small cracks can turn into large cracks – especially in the worst of conditions. Overall, however, the risk of a small crack becoming larger or shattering your entire windscreen is low. That being said, while it’s a small possibility, it is a possibility. That’s why it’s important to get small cracks and chips repaired as soon as possible. Small cracks and chips can be fixed; however, if not attended to quickly enough, they can spread and become a serious issue. If these larger cracks continue to expand, shattering can be a likely threat.

So, when is it safe to drive with a crack?

Unfortunately, the answer is likely never. Ultimately, you could potentially be putting yourself at risk by getting behind the wheel of a car with a cracked windscreen; therefore, Novus always advocates for the timely repair or replacement of your windscreen, when possible. That being said, there are some considerations you can make to evaluate how safe it is for you in your particular situation.

evaluate how safe it is to drive

How Safe are you? Self Evaluation

  • How large is the crack? Everyone’s idea of a ‘small crack’ is different. A general rule is if it’s under 15 cm, it’s repairable; however, driving with a crack this large can exacerbate its size. So, ensure it is well under this size before driving.
  • What kind of crack is it? There are different types of cracks which vary in their ability to hold their shape. Is it a bull’s eye? A linear crack? A pit? A crack chip? Or star-shaped break? The more cracks that appear in the formation of the overall crack, the more fragile you should assume the crack is.
  • Where is the crack? If the crack is positioned on the passengers side, it’s safer for you to drive with a crack as your vision isn’t obstructed. Currently, there is legislation in place for driving with an obstructed view (we’ll touch on this below).
  • How long or far will you need to drive? The shorter the trip, the smaller the risk.
  • What are the road conditions like? Bumpy roads are a hazard without the added risk of having a crack in your windscreen.
  • What are the weather conditions like? Dust, rain, hail, extreme heat, and extreme cold: these are all conditions that put pressure on your car’s windscreen. Temperature changes also force glass to expand and contract, making cracks more fragile.
  • What is the quality of the windscreen like? Older windscreens, or older model vehicles with their original windscreens, have endured a lot over the years. A small crack might be just the thing that pushes the windscreen to shatter. Further, if you have previously had your windscreen repaired from a mechanic without the proper equipment, materials, or glass, then your windscreen may be low-quality. Typically, you should receive a generous warranty with your new windscreen to know it’s safe and high quality. Did you know Novus provides a lifetime warranty with their windscreen replacements?

The Advantages of Getting a Repair

While Novus understand that booking a repair isn’t always at the top of your priorities, there are some advantages of getting it done as soon as you experience a crack.

  • You save money. Fixing a small crack while it’s still insignificant, and before it has the chance to spread and shatter your windscreen, is much easier and cheaper than fixing a large crack or getting your whole windscreen replaced.
  • It’s quick. Getting a crack repaired can take between 15–30 minutes, whereas a replacement can take up to an hour. Further, you are able to get back on the road much faster with a repair – so, back to doing fun stuff!
  • Some repairers drive out to you. To make life even easier, some companies will drive out to you for repairs, for your convenience. With Novus, you don’t have to take time out of your day to drive out to some special location – you can pick the time and the place and we’ll come to you.


getting a repair vs replacement

What Causes a Crack to Shatter?

Moisture and temperature

Especially with Australia’s harsh sun, temperature can be a problem in speeding up the cracking process. In addition, heavy storms and rain can cause water to seep between the top layer of glass, plastic and bottom layer (this is how laminated safety glass is structured).This can also increase the risk of the crack expanding.


Dirt can get into a crack, weakening the windscreen further and potentially causing the split to expand

Bumps in the road

Any kind of jolting or harsh contact with your car carries a high possibility of causing your windscreen to shatter or crack further.

Rocks and Debris

Rocks from trucks on the highway, branches from a tree, hail, golf balls and other flying or falling objects can inflict further damage to your windscreen.

The Legalities

In all states of Australia, there are road rules in place that stipulate driving with an unobstructed view. Most states, like Queensland, outline the impediment of vision as the main factor of whether or not the crack is legal; however, all over Australia it is illegal to drive with a smashed windscreen, or one with a major crack. Stay on the right side of the law by booking in a repair with a trusted windscreen expert.

car crash novus windscreen

Other Things to Consider

Did you know having a crack in your windscreen can endanger you in the event of a crash?

Windscreens that are intact transfer the impact of a front-end collision down to the chassis. This lessens the effect of the crash on passengers by lowering the impact felt inside the car – in turn, passengers are more protected. If a cracked windscreen shatters during a collision, the occupants are put at greater risk of sustaining injuries. Further, shattered windscreens can cause ineffective airbag deployment.

So, drive with a crack at your discretion by evaluating all the risks. When you do, however, decide to book in for a repair, trust the expert team at Novus to bring your windscreen back to optimal safety.

Novus Autoglass is a company with a long history in windscreen repair and replacement. As the original glass repair professionals, Novus understands best practice windscreen repair and leads the industry in cutting-edge technology, backed by more patents than any other repair and replacement company. Book in a repair today – call Novus on 13 22 34.

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