Can You Drive with a Cracked Windshield?
Whether on a highway or driving through a residential neighborhood, cracks in your windshield can be extremely dangerous. These cracks can shatter if your car is hit, potentially injuring you and the passengers inside your vehicle.
Even a small crack can worsen over time. High temperatures, direct sunlight, and motor vibrations can exacerbate these cracks.
While small cracks and chips in your windshield might not seem like a big deal, getting them repaired as soon as possible is still important. These cracks can obstruct your view and put you at risk as a driver. Additionally, if the crack is in your line of vision while driving, you may be violating state laws regarding windshield obstruction.
Leaving a minor crack unrepaired can cause it to spread and could potentially damage the windshield completely. Eventually, the windshield can shatter and leave sharp glass shards all over the interior of the vehicle. This can be dangerous for passengers and pose a safety hazard on the road.
Most minor chips and cracks can be easily fixed with an epoxy kit. However, some cracks might require a professional windshield repair service and replacement of the entire windshield. It’s best to get a professional assessment and ensure the crack is safe before driving.
Even a seemingly insignificant crack in the windshield can worsen over time, especially if exposed to extreme temperatures. The change in temperature can cause the glass to expand and widen the cracks. When storing your car, keep it in a garage or covered with a windshield cover to prevent any fluctuation in temperature that can affect the cracks.
The most common type of windshield crack is a star break. It’s a combination of chips and cracks that create a star-shaped pattern in the windshield. While these seem harmless, they can spread quickly, especially if the cracks overlap. Small star breaks can also obstruct the driver’s view while driving, so it’s best to have them repaired as soon as possible.
Another type of crack is a surface pit. This is a small chip that doesn’t reach the middle plastic layer of the windshield. While it might not seem a big deal now, a pit can become bigger over time and can spread across the entire windshield. Ultimately, this can lead to a full replacement of the windshield, which can be very costly. It’s much cheaper to repair small pits and cracks as they occur.
When driving down the road, it’s easy to miss a rock or gravel that could break your windshield. These small pebbles often hit weak points in your glass, such as the hood or roof of your vehicle, causing cracks in the windshield. While these cracks may seem harmless, they can pose a danger to you and other drivers on the road.
Over time, these cracks can spread and grow larger. Moisture, temperature changes, and strain on the glass from flexing the car as it travels over bumps and troughs in the road can cause the cracks to spread. This can be especially dangerous if the crack is located around eye level or in your vision line.
It’s important to get a crack fixed right away. If you continue to drive with a cracked windshield, it will likely only worsen and may be unfixable. A professional auto glass specialist can advise you on whether your crack is repairable or if it will need to be replaced.
In general, a crack that’s 1 inch or less in length is usually fixable. A crack that’s 3 inches or more will require a full replacement.
Even if you have a crack that isn’t repairable, it’s still best to pull over and call for a mobile windshield service, such as Novus. It’s illegal to operate a vehicle with a shattered or chipped windshield that significantly obstructs the driver’s view of the road.
A cracked windshield is also dangerous for your passengers and other motorists. It reduces the effectiveness of your airbags. In the case of a crash, the cracks in your windshield can shatter, increasing the risk of injury to you and your passengers. In addition, the cracks in your windshield can make it difficult to see the road and other vehicles, which is unsafe on busy roadways.
There isn’t much worse than driving along minding your own business when —CRACK!—a rock or piece of debris hits your windshield and leaves a crack. While many of these stray rocks are harmless and barely visible from your driver’s seat, some can cause serious damage to the glass and even bodily injury or death.
The windshield isn’t just there to protect you from the wind; it also helps keep your vehicle structurally sound. In fact, the windshield provides 60% of a vehicle’s stability in a rollover accident and 45% in a front-end collision. That means that a cracked or chipped windshield can severely weaken the frame of your car and make it more likely to crush in an accident.
A weakened windshield can also inhibit the correct deployment of airbags, so it is important to have your glass repaired as soon as possible. In addition, a cracked windshield can obscure the driver’s view of the road and pose a safety hazard to you and your passengers.
It’s a nightmare scenario that every driver fears — an object flying off of another car on the highway, heading straight for your vehicle, and possibly slamming into your windshield. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, this type of roadway debris causes 200,000 accidents, 39,000 injuries, and 500 deaths yearly.
Despite the scary potential for such an incident, it’s not as common as you might think. According to a recent report by the Texas Department of Public Safety, most such incidents are caused by either unsecured loads or debris already on the road.
Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to file a successful personal injury claim against the party responsible for damaging your windshield. To build your case, gathering as much evidence as possible, including pictures of the damage and any other details you might have, is important. Getting the name and contact information of any witnesses is also helpful. You can then send this documentation to the company, along with a demand letter demanding that they pay for the repair or replacement of your windshield.
In addition to a compromised appearance and safety hazards, cracked windshields can weaken the structural integrity of your vehicle. This can be a big problem if your car is involved in a serious accident and the airbags deploy. If the windshield is compromised, it may shatter during the deployment, potentially causing injuries to passengers and other motorists. It’s best to have a professional repair or replace your windshield as soon as possible to protect yourself and others on the road.
Your windshield’s structural integrity is also important when driving on uneven roads. Uneven surfaces like potholes and speed bumps can cause a great deal of force to be transmitted throughout your entire vehicle, including hitting the windshield. This can worsen existing cracks and chips and create new damage. If you encounter these obstacles while driving, slow down to minimize the impact.
A cracked windshield can lead to other problems as well. It can cause distractions while driving, making it hard to focus on the road and other vehicles around you. It can also trap dirt and debris in cracks, which can then affect your visibility on the road. This is especially dangerous during foggy or rainy conditions when you need maximum clarity for your safety.
If you drive with a cracked windshield, you could face a ticket from a police officer. Most states have laws that require you to have a clear view of the roadway through your windshield. Police officers can ticket drivers with a cracked windshield that they believe impedes their ability to safely operate the vehicle.
Putting off a cracked windshield repair can actually cost you more money in the long run. Even small cracks will spread over time, getting larger with each hit from your car door, bump in the road, or use of your windshield wipers. If you decide to ignore the cracks, they will only get worse and could eventually shatter. It’s much safer to pay for a quick, professional repair or replacement instead of risking your life on the road.