Outback road trips are a right of passage for many Australians. For many more, they’re an annual or even biannual hobby. A lot of planning goes into outback road trips, and it’s always important to make sure your vehicle is in good condition. But what about windscreens? Outback road trips are a significant source of windscreen damage. A lot of the time, it’s just a matter of bad luck.
But in some cases, windscreen damage on outback road trips is avoidable. So we’ve put together these top tips for avoiding windscreen damage on your next outback road trip. After all, you’d hate to have a crack spoiling your perfect view of our unique landscape!
Plan your route – you stand a better chance of avoiding windscreen damage on sealed roads
If you’re new to outback travel, you may not be familiar with corrugated dirt roads. They’re harsh, and sometimes necessary routes that connect the smallest outback destinations to the rest of the country. But corrugated roads put a lot of strain on your vehicle. They’re also coated in a windscreen’s worst nightmare: rocks. On a map, dirt roads often look like the quickest and most direct route to a destination. But in reality, it can be slow and sometimes damaging going. Our advice: stick to the sealed roads where possible. If it’s not possible, don’t be afraid to hit the dirt – just follow a few of our safety tips when you do.
Steer clear of the big rigs: road trains, and large trucks are a major source of windscreen damage
Whether you’re on a dirt road or a sealed road, avoid the big rigs! Tailgating road trains and large trucks are not only dangerous for your windscreen – it’s dangerous for road users too. Road trains can exceed 50m in length, and they’re not stopping in a hurry! So give them plenty of distance. They’re also known to kick up large stones; they do have in excess of 70 wheels, after all. The best thing to do around road trains is to give them plenty of space. Sometimes, it’s worth just pulling off and boiling the billy to put some distance between you. Believe us, your windscreen will thank you!
To avoid dirt road windscreen damage, pull off the road and allow oncoming traffic to pass
Outback roads are often only single lanes through the bush. Usually, they’ll have a sizeable gravel shoulder. That means, when oncoming traffic arrives, you’ll need to pull off. It is possible to continue driving while you do so, but we recommend against it. Often, oncoming traffic will include trucks, road trains, and caravans. In those cases, it’s best to pull as far off the road as possible and stop. That could make the difference between catastrophic windscreen damage, and a simple chip, or even no damage at all!
Drive to conditions: most windscreen damage happens at high speeds
Driving to conditions takes experience. If you’re hitting the outback for the first time, we recommend taking it steady until you get a feel for the roads. Once your comfortable, you can start making judgement calls on what speeds to travel. But remember, high speeds come with a high risk of windscreen damage. Even sealed outback roads generally have more gravel and stones on them. There’s every chance of that debris become airborne with passing traffic.
Finally, avoid additional damage by making sure your windscreen is in good condition
Finally, let’s talk about preparation. Before you hit some of the most beautiful, but demanding roads in the country, make sure your windscreen is up to the challenge.
If it’s chipped or cracked at all, get in to see the experts for repair or replacement before you leave!