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Is it legal to drive if you don’t have working windscreen wipers?

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Updated 27 Aug 2019

Rowan Johnstone

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Most of the time, your windscreen wipers do not play much of a role in the operation of your vehicle.

They sit out of sight and out of mind until they’re called upon to sweep away water that’s sitting on your windscreen, providing you with clear vision of the road ahead.

So, if all of a sudden your windscreen wipers no longer work or don’t work well, is it still legal to drive?

Simply put, no, of course it's not. 

The Australian Federal Government states that any motor vehicle with a windscreen must be fitted with an operational, power-driven windscreen wiping system.

So if you were thinking about removing your wipers altogether, you’ll have to put that idea to bed!

Taking a deeper dive into the state and territory level, the exact requirements may change ever so slightly but the general idea is still the same.

Your car could be deemed unroadworthy and defective (and therefore illegal) if any of the following examples apply;

  • Your wipers are unable to operate at all speeds
  • They do not return to their correct ‘off’ position (for example, out of sight at the bottom of your windscreen)
  • The blade rubbers and wiper arms are not in good condition (split, frayed, or missing blades)
  • The windscreen wiper system cannot be operated by the driver from the standard driving position
  • All components must be secure, functional and not overly worn

The above does not apply for rear windscreen wipers, as there is no legal requirement for them to be operational.

When driving, vision is the key to safety. You know this.

You might not think about it much when it’s bright and sunny outside, but the moment you hit rain you’ll remember and definitely wish you had a set of working wipers.

I’m sure we’ve all experienced those situations where it’s raining so heavily and your wipers are on the maximum speed setting, yet it feels like they’re only clearing the windscreen for a fraction of a second until a sheet of water is covering it again.

Now imagine that sort of experience every time it starts raining and it’s easy to understand why so much emphasis is placed on having operational windscreen wipers and why, if you don’t, you could land in some hot water!

Luckily, AutoGuru is the best place to search, compare and book from local, high-quality mechanics.

If you’re in need of a windscreen wiper system overhaul, you’ve come to the right place.

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Written By

Rowan Johnstone

On weekdays Rowan can be found in the AutoGuru office, driving content and growth with the rest of the marketing team.

On weekends you’ll probably find him in the garage with his dad restoring a 1958 Ford Star Model Customline or enjoying a cruise through the Gold Coast hinterland on his Suzuki GSX-R600.

Despite his passion for being behind the wheel (or handlebars), he looks forward to the day when he can commute to work in his own driverless car.