A cracked windshield is a problem you will most likely deal with at some point in your driving tenure. According to I See Cars, “A broken or cracked windshield is one of the most common vehicle repair problems motorists face. According to Insurance Journal, 30% of all automotive insurance claims are windshield-related. Approximately 14 million windshields are replaced in America each year.”

Windshield damage is a very common issue, as you can see by the statistics, and laws can vary based on the state you live in. It’s important to know how to deal with a cracked windshield, how to replace or repair windshield damage, and to learn how to be safe if this happens to you. In this article, we will discuss just that. 

#1: Can You Drive With a Cracked Windshield?

According to California Car Law, California’s Vehicle Code (VC) Section 26710: Defective Windshields and Rear Windows: It is unlawful to operate any motor vehicle upon a highway when the windshield or rear window is in such a defective condition as to impair the driver’s vision either to the front or rear. 

Although this leads to some interpretation, the conservative way to think about this code is that if you have a crack on your windshield or rear window, you may be subject to a ticket. A windshield is designed to protect a car’s occupants from the elements, but it can also be vulnerable to damage. A small crack may not seem like a big deal, but it can quickly become worse. Cracks weaken the structure of the windshield, making it more likely to break. They also create a place for dirt and moisture to accumulate, which can further damage the glass.

Cracks can also cause glares and make it difficult to see clearly while driving. Although a cracked windshield may seem like a minor problem (especially when the crack is small) it can quickly turn into a larger problem and lead to an unsafe situation on the roadway. Now let’s take a look at if you can repair cracked windshields or if you need to replace the window as a whole. 

#2: Can I Repair a Cracked Windshield?

If you have a cracked windshield, there are a few things to keep in mind when contemplating whether to pay to have the crack patched or to have the whole window replaced. A good rule of thumb is that if the cracked windshield is 3 inches or smaller, it most likely can be repaired by a glass specialist. Another good rule of thumb is that if a chip in the glass is smaller than the size of a quarter, it can also be repaired. That being said, if the damage is more extensive than that, you most likely will need to replace the whole window.

It’s also important to analyze where the crack on the windshield is. If it’s right in the driver’s view or in a more vulnerable space, it may be better to just replace the windshield. Although each situation will be unique, it’s good to discuss your options with a qualified professional before making a decision or trying to fix the crack yourself. 

When thinking about repairing a cracked windshield, cost can play a major role in your decision. A new windshield can bee expensive, so it’s important to always check with your insurance company to see if they will help with the cost. Most insurance companies will cover a broken windshield, as it is considered to be part of the car’s body. However, there may be a deductible that you have to pay before the insurance company will reimburse you for the repairs. In addition, some insurance companies may only cover the cost of repairing the windshield, and not replacing it entirely. Therefore, it is important to check with your insurance company to see what is covered before you have your windshield repaired or replaced.

#3: What Are the Safety Concerns of a Cracked Windshield?

The dangers of a cracked windshield may seem self-explanatory, but they are important to note because a damaged windshield can be more dangerous than you think. ​​If a cracked windshield is left untreated, a small crack can quickly turn into a large one, making it more difficult and expensive to repair. A cracked windshield can actually weaken the structural integrity of your car, making it more susceptible to damage in an accident. Cracked windshields can also obstruct your view when driving, making it more difficult to see other cars on the road. This can easily lead to accidents or put pedestrians or bikers at risk.

The weather can also have an impact on your car if you have a cracked windshield. If you live in a cold climate, a crack in your windshield can cause ice to form on the inside of your car, making it very difficult to see out of and making what is already a dangerous drive (in the snow or ice) even more dangerous. So if you have a crack in your windshield, we at Your Drivers Ed Online want to make sure you take it seriously and know the risks before getting back out on the road.