Is It Illegal To Drive With A Cracked Windshield? – Know All States Law

The Windshield is an essential safety part of any vehicle. It acts as a protective layer for drivers and other passengers. Most of the time it can be damaged by sand or road debris from the outside. In this situation, a question may arise: Is it illegal to drive with a cracked windshield?

Remember that the windshield has an excellent construction that protects the interior of the car from various aggressive elements. Note that this auto glass comes in place and is largely sealed with urethane, further preventing a windshield leak.

So if your car runs fine and all you have is a cracked windshield, is it okay to drive? The answer is, that it depends. The severity, size, and location of the damage have an impact on whether or not you can legally drive your car.

Additionally, windshield rules and regulations, including the size of the crack, windshield allowable elements, etc., vary from state to state. You should never settle for driving with a broken windshield, but if you’re temporarily forced into this situation, here’s what you need to know.

Can You Drive With A Cracked Windshield?

In general, driving with a small crack in the windshield is safe. However, as the crack is spreading, it’s important to get it replaced as soon as possible. There are mainly two reasons why large cracks in windshields are more dangerous.

First of all, a cracked windshield is a weakened one. You are much less protected from the next flying object if you are hit by a rock that causes a rift. Whether it’s an animal crossing the road, gravel falling from a truck, or anything else, it can be dangerous.

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Once windshields are broken or cracked, their integrity is compromised. Secondly, any kind of reduced visibility while driving is a bad thing. Cracked windshields can only affect visibility in tight spaces, but this is only going to increase.

In fact, you may still be driving with such broken glass, but it can be really dangerous. The longer you let such a problem happen, the more you expose yourself to high risks.

What States Is It Illegal To Drive With A Cracked Windshield?

American traffic rules differ from state to state. That said, whether it’s illegal to drive with a broken windshield is up to state governments, and there are subtle differences in the laws.

Depending on where you are, and the extent and location of the crack, it may seem illegal to drive with a broken windshield. The good news is that there are federal regulations on cracked windshields and complying with those regulations would help.

However, you will find several states that have their own transportation code related to automobile windshields. With that in mind, below are some states where driving with a broken windshield would seem illegal.

1. Colorado

Colorado has no specific laws regarding the replacement or repair of cracked windshields, but the law requires the windshield to have a normal and unobstructed view of the windshield. Federal laws address windshield damage and what is unacceptable.

Also, the law requires most cars to be fitted with a windshield made of safety glass material, designed to prevent a broken windshield from shattering. Classic cars that were originally built without a windshield are exempt from the law.

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The law also addresses limits on window tinting and the number of occupants in the car, both of which are related to not obstructing the driver’s view.

2. Illinois

There is no direct law in the state of Illinois related to cracked windshields or broken mirrors. The law covers visibility but is written to allow law enforcement to make sentencing decisions if you are stopped.

The safety law of Illinois is also known as the Illinois Compiled Statutes, Sec. 12-503, and a specific part of the law states that the damage must not “materially impair the driver’s front, side, or rear view.”

The law does not detail the size or location of possible cracks in windows. Ultimately, the arresting officer will decide if you are disabled.

3. New York

New York maintains strict requirements about what is acceptable when it comes to windshields. First, all vehicles must have windshields when driving on the road. You must also have working windshield wipers that remove rain, sleet, snow, and other moisture.

You must be able to provide a clear view through the glass. All windshields must be made of safety glass or contain a safety glass material. This law limits the number of chips and cracks you can have on your windshield.

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While the laws are somewhat vague, there is a code that must be followed. All vehicles on the roadway must be free from defects, discoloration, chips, or cracks that obstruct the driver’s view. It is then up to the ticket office to determine whether the driver is complying.

4. Wisconsin

The use of broken windshields in this state appears to be regulated by Wisconsin Transportation Code 305.34. Please note that this law requires that all automobiles manufactured on or after January 1, 1936, be built with safety glass only.

This regulation also states that the windshield must not show cracks or excessive damage. Additionally, vehicles in good working condition should be equipped with windshield wipers. Cracks that prevent windshield wipers from working properly may be illegal.

5. Georgia

The Georgia Code does not specifically state that your windshield must not be damaged. However, it is a safety hazard to operate your vehicle with a crack in the windshield if the crack is larger than 12 inches or if the dent is larger than a quarter.

If the tear affects your field of vision, it’s a greater safety hazard and you could get a speeding ticket. Contact a lawyer or police officer for more information.

Why Is It Unsafe To Drive With A Cracked Windscreen?

As a vehicle owner, you need to understand the value of proper and regular maintenance. Driving with a damaged windshield is a problem that is often overlooked.

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An automobile windshield keeps out dust, pollution, rainwater, and wind, and plays an essential role in maintaining the structural integrity of the vehicle. This is what happens if we don’t fix the windshield damage on time

– Sight Impairment

The most common hazard of driving with a cracked windshield is a reduced field of vision. During daytime driving, a driver’s vision can be limited when a crack coincides with his line of sight.

Driving at night can be even worse. Cracked windshields can make prisms that, when hit by streetlights, can temporarily damage the driver’s eye and cause an accident.

– Compromised Structural Integrity

More importantly, the windshield adds structural integrity to the vehicle. It forms a frame that supports the roof. This means that car glass prevents the roof from collapsing in the event of a rollover.

A chipped or cracked windshield may not be able to perform this function. The laminated glass prevents the windshield from shattering, which may not be the case if it’s already chipped or cracked.

– Fatal Accidents

Your car’s windshield is designed to protect you and other passengers, especially in the event of an accident. However, a cracked windshield cannot withstand a strong impact in a frontal collision, endangering the life of the vehicle occupants.

Even if you are involved in an accident and you are not wearing your seat belt, you run the risk of being thrown from the car.

– Shattering Glass

Most car windshields are made of laminated glass. Laminated glass is specially designed to hold glass pieces together in case of breakage. This means that, unlike normal glass, the glass will not break into sharp shards.

However, this only applies to windshields that do not have any previous damage. If your car’s windshield is cracked, the glass will shatter in a crash or impact, and flying glass shards will cause serious injury to occupants.

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How Long Can You Drive With A Cracked Windshield?

Deciding how long can you drive a cracked windshield can be difficult. Depending on the size and severity of the damage, it could take days, weeks, or even months to get your windshield repaired or replaced.

While it can be safe to drive with a small broken glass on your vehicle, the longer you wait, the more likely you are to suffer further damage. Any additional impact, like potholes in the road, can cause even a small chip in the windshield or a small crack to become a bigger problem.

It is in your best interest to repair a cracked windscreen as soon as possible to avoid having to replace the entire windscreen in the future.

Repairing a crack is a much cheaper and more timely procedure than a full replacement. Take care of your future self by addressing the issue as soon as possible.

Top FAQs Related Can I Drive With a Cracked Windshield

Can I drive a car with a cracked windshield?

If your windshield has even a small crack, you can safely drive your vehicle home, but you should prioritize getting your windshield repaired right away. If you don’t repair a small crack and keep driving, the crack will spread. This is a safety risk. It is also illegal in some states to drive with a broken windshield.

How fast does a windshield crack spread?

It would interest you that the time of the same varies since it seems to be affected by pressure, temperature changes, and other objects that get into the cracks. These factors can cause the glass to shrink or expand, leading to breakage.

The accumulation of dirt also makes it difficult to carry out effective repair work. Therefore, people seem to be in serious danger when driving cars with broken windshields.

What happens if your windshield cracks spread all across it?

If your windshield cracks completely, ice can collect under the cracked section and crack your windshield. However, a modern windshield comes with strong adhesives that keep the glasses in place. therefore, shards of glass are less likely to fall into the vehicle. This gives you time to quickly visit the shop to repair or replace the entire windshield.

How long can I drive with a cracked windshield?

There is no specific time frame. Cracks in your windshield can last days without spreading, or they can last weeks and sometimes months. You have no way of knowing how long it will take, which is scary.

We must remind you once again that the risk of your entire windscreen breaking while behind the wheel of your vehicle is increased if you do not have your windscreen repaired in time. You could be seriously injured by broken glass and damage to your car.

What size of cracks on windshields are repairable?

If there are any cracks or chips about an inch in diameter and no more than three inches long, you can bet they’ll look repairable. Essentially, you may need to budget for a windshield replacement if the size of the cracks exceeds the above.

Also, since the size is an important factor, you should keep in mind that the area of ​​the tear can also be another important factor.

Why you shouldn’t drive with a cracked windshield?

There are many reasons why you shouldn’t drive with a broken windshield. These cracks diminish the windshield’s ability to safeguard you in an accident. In addition, in the event of a collision, the windshield is easily broken and broken glass injures your passengers.

Therefore, it is important to keep your windshield in top condition to improve your chances of surviving an accident.

Final Thought

In general, you can expect the police to pull you over if your car has a crack in the windshield big enough to be in your line of sight when behind the wheel. So, get your broken windshield fixed as soon as possible.

Just as the small crack in your windshield can expand, so can the possible consequences of driving with that cracked windshield for weeks or more.

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