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The Legal Ramifications of Driving with a Cracked Windshield

driving with a cracked windshield

Driving laws are set in place to keep everyone safe while they’re on the road. It might seem like a minor crack in your windshield isn’t a big deal. But a small crack can easily grow into something bigger.

Driving with a cracked windshield can obstruct your vision, which can, of course, cause accidents that will put you in further danger. Including danger with the law.

Continue reading to find out the legal ramifications for driving with a cracked windshield.

Is Driving with a Cracked Windshield Illegal?

If you’re driving in the state of California (which we service), there are some strict requirements set in place for the windshield on your car. These are the rules you need to follow to prevent any fines or citations.

The Age of Your Car Matters

Some antique and classic cars were manufactured and sold without a windshield. This is the only type of vehicle (other than motorcycles) that you can drive in California without a windshield. Additionally, all cars had been manufactured after January 1, 1936, need to have safety gazing material on all the windows and windshields.

It is against the law to drive a vehicle outside of a motorcycle that doesn’t have working driver controlled windshield wipers.

Laws Regarding Chips and Cracks

There are laws in California that require the windshield and rear window of your car to be in a certain type of condition.

For one, drivers can’t drive with a windshield or rear window that has impurities. As they can impair your vision as a driver. There isn’t a particular standard set in place for these defects.

This means it’s up to the ticketing officer who pulls you over to decide whether any chips and cracks in the front or back of your car are enough to impair your vision while driving.

Other Obstructions on Windshields and Rear Windows

Outside of cracks in windshields, it’s illegal in California to have posters, stickers, or signs on a windshield that makes it hard for a driver to see. If you choose to decorate your vehicle with any of these items, you need to follow these rules for placement:

  1. Stickers cannot be more than 5 inches in diameter. They can only go in the lower left or right corner of the windshield.
  2. You can place things like toll and video recorders or electronic traffic management on your windshield. You just have to make sure the devices aren’t any larger than 5 square inches.
  3. You can also use GPS systems, but they cannot be any bigger than 7 square inches. The GPS should also get mounted in the corner opposite the driver’s side and outside of the airbag deployment area.

Legal Ramifications and Violations

If you receive a citation because of cracks or chips in your windshield, you need to have it repaired within 48 hours of its receipt. The driver and or owner of the car will need to send proof to the courts that show the windshield or rear window was repaired or replaced.

The documentation needs to show that the repair was done in a way that makes the car compliant with the laws in California. If the repair isn’t made, you can become responsible for a fine or even face arrest. Drivers typically only face jail time under extenuating circumstances.

In some cases, it’s required to have your windshield inspected by a certified mechanic. You may also need to show proof of a repair.

Repairing Your Cracked Windshield

There are some DIY kits you can buy to repair your windshield. They are less expensive than a visit to a mechanic and they’re easy to use. The kits try to mimic the resin injection that professional mechanics use. You can purchase these kits online or at a local big box or auto parts store.

The problem, however, is that these kits rarely give you a high quality finished product.

This can mean one of two things for you. The repair won’t meet the standards of the state, which will cause you to end up needing additional work done. The second is that because of the lack of quality materials, the windshield can break again, this time breaking even more than it originally had.

Professional Windshield Repair

While there are some car repairs that are okay to complete on your own, fixing a cracked windshield doesn’t fall onto that list. It’s best to have a knowledgeable professional repair it for you.

Not only do you need to consider your own safety, think about the other drivers on the road. The lack of visibility brought on by a cracked windshield can cause an accident. Or the windshield can come off while you’re driving.

The cost of a professional repair job depends on the size of the crack and the model of your vehicle. A large crack is the size of a dollar bill or larger, which can cost around $100. A smaller crack, which would be half the size of a dollar bill or smaller might be around $60.

If you need a full replacement, you may have to spend about $150. If need a replacement windshield, you should double check your insurance policy to see if it’s covered. Repairs are rarely ever covered.

You can use our easy online form to get a quote for your repair.

Contact Us Today

If you’ve been driving with a cracked windshield for a while, it’s time for you to have it repaired. Even if there hasn’t been a citation yet, the chances of you getting pulled over and fined are increasing every day.

Simply having your windshield repaired can save you a lot of chaos in the long run. Don’t risk the drive. Our mobile repair will come to you at no additional charge. Just contact us today.


Why You Need to Replace a Cracked Windshield

replace a cracked windshield

Choosing to replace a cracked windshield is the right choice.

A lot of people underestimate the risk of having a cracked windshield on the front of your car, not only for yourself but for other drivers as well. The windshield is one part of the structural integrity of the vehicle. If it’s broken, that means your vehicle’s at risk.

What Are The Risks?

Having a damaged windshield is dangerous when you’re on the road. If it hasn’t been set in place with glue or if the crack is deep, a damaged windshield could pop out of your car in the case of a collision. It also provides less structural integrity to the rest of your car. With a weakened windshield, your roof could collapse in a crash.

Beyond the physical risk, there are also possible legal ramifications. In certain states, such as Florida, if an officer has reason to suspect that your car is unsafe, they can stop you. Is it worth it to have a cracked windshield AND a ticket?

Now of course, the situation might not be as dire as that, but the possibility is there.

Driving With A Cracked Windshield

If you have a small chip or crack on your windshield, generally speaking, you’ll be okay to drive for a while. They’re also easily fixed by auto glass experts.

What you have to look out for is if the crack grows or becomes too deep.

Larger chips or cracks that are about the width or length of a credit card need replacing immediately. The reason behind this is that most standard windshields consist of up of two sheets of glass glued to a vinyl resin in the middle. The vinyl resin’s function is to keep the glass in place during a crash or collision. This protects you from shards of glass flying at your face.

Once this layer breaks or cracks, the windshield will not be able to protect you in situations of impact. These cracks also make it harder to see through your windshield.

Replace A Cracked Windshield

When it comes to windshield replacements, you’re looking at whether your crack or chip is large or small. That way you can decide whether you need to go to a specialist or DIY (though we’ll always suggest you go to a specialist).

Small chip or crack

Smaller chips and cracks on your windshield is an easy affair to handle. Professionals can usually fix it for under $100 or so.

The process for fixing a small chip involves injecting a special resin into the damaged area. For cracks, the specialist may drill the ends of the crack to prevent it from spreading, which is one of the bigger risks of not fixing a crack. An experienced specialist should be the one to do this, as it requires knowledge of how far you can drill before breaking the layer of resin/polymer.

In our professional experience, we’d recommend repairing your windshield immediately. Making any sudden movements, such as an aggressive turn or a bump over a pothole could make the chip or crack worse. The sooner you fix it, the better. Remember, once you’ve repaired your windshield, visibility might not be as clear as the rest of your windshield.

Large chip or crack

If your chip or crack is larger than a dollar bill, it’s best to replace your windshield. It’s also much more important to replace your windshield if the chip or crack is in your line-of-sight while driving.

The benefits of replacing your windshield is that you’re getting a brand new installation in your car. More often than not, this is like getting new prescription glasses for the driver. Visibility should clear up and removing any blemishes on the screen should prevent distractions on the road.

DIY Repair

If you do choose to go this route, you’ll be able to find a variety of do-it-yourself repair kits available online or at local auto parts store.

Typically, these repair kits try to replicate the resin injection technique that professionals use. The difference is that the quality of the tools and materials are much lower. In addition to that, you won’t have the expertise and knowledge that a professional does when it comes to applying the repair.

We’d only suggest attempting a DIY repair if the chip is smaller and situated further away from the driver side’s line-of-sight. This will ensure that the repair doesn’t obstruct your vision if it’s applied poorly.

How Much Will It Cost?

As stated before, repairs can cost around $100 for a long crack repair. In the case of CPR Auto Glass, a crack the size of a half dollar will run you about $60, depending on the model of your vehicle. For replacements, it can cost anywhere upwards of $150.

Before you shop around for a specialist to do your replacement, make sure you take a look at your insurance policy to see if it covers windshield replacements. Depending on your deductible, you might end up having to pay some of the cost. Unfortunately, repairs usually do not fall under your insurance policy.

Should You Fix It?

Nobody but you are responsible for your own safety. However, you have to consider more than that.

There are other drivers on the road when you’re driving with a cracked windshield. A crash due to a windshield coming off while the car’s in use or visibility issues is a lot to lose over a small and easy fix. Make the right choice and choose to repair or replace your windshield.

CPR Auto Glass is the best option if you need to replace a cracked windshield or repair it. Offering mobile service in Murrieta and Temecula, we’ll save you time and money through our repair services. Most of all, we’ll ensure your safety the next time you hit the road.

Contact us now for a free online quote that will have your car in tip-top condition in no time.