By Clair Morton
Last updated on: July 16, 2018 at 3:36 pm
A pebble smashing into a windscreen while driving can be a scary experience, let alone a rock that causes a smashed or badly cracked windscreen.
In the wake of a dangerous spate of reported rock-throwing incidents on the Southern Expressway – at least 37 this year – the government is installing temporary screens on all unprotected bridges along the highway to prevent windscreen damage.
If damage does happen to your windscreen though, what should you do?
According to RAA Senior Manager for Road Safety Charles Mountain, try to stay calm and slowly pull over when it is safe and clear.
“Assess the damage once you’ve safely pulled over and are out of traffic, and – if it’s the result of a rock throwing act – report the incident to police.
From there, Mr Mountain says the most important thing a driver can do is to get it fixed.
“A damaged windscreen loses its structural integrity, making it a hazard for motorists,” he says.
“Depending on how bad the damage is and whether it’s blocking your view, it can also be illegal.”
If the windscreen is completely smashed or appears unsafe, the best option is to get your car to a safe spot and have a mobile windscreen repair and replacement service come to you.
If it’s a small crack that’s not affecting your view of the road, then it’s generally safe to drive for a short distance.
“It’s still important to get it fixed as soon as possible though, as the longer it’s left, the worse the damage can get and the more costly the repairs become,” Mr Mountain adds.
There are some remote areas, however, where motorists might find themselves with little to no phone coverage, or few options.
In these emergency situations, there are some things you can do to minimise risks:
- Use clear tape inside the windscreen to prevent glass from entering the car
- Wear safety glasses or goggles if possible, or even a pair of sunglasses if that’s all you can get your hands on
- Keep windows up and drive slowly and carefully
If your insurance covers you for windscreen replacement, don’t forget to make a claim.