Is It Safe To Drive With A Cracked Windshield?

You’re driving peacefully and suddenly hear a rock hitting your windshield – you already know you’re in trouble. Even a tiny hairline crack can easily turn into an awful spiderweb if you don’t pay attention. The good news is that most cracks can be repaired quickly and easily. While you might not consider a small crack in the windshield a big deal, it has the potential to cause significant damage. But is it safe to drive with a cracked windshield?

What Causes Cracks In A Windshield?

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Although a windshield is made with a solid material, some small objects like a tiny stone can shatter the glass and cause a crack while driving fast. Cracks can also occur when the windshield is heated and cooled rapidly, e.g., when you leave your car in the sun for a long time, then turn on the air conditioner.

The sudden temperature change expands and contracts the glass, weakening the material and shattering it over time. [1]

Is It Safe To Drive With A Cracked Windshield?

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To cut it short, no, driving with a cracked windshield is not safe. The windshield contributes 60 percent to structural stability in a rollover and 45 percent in a frontal crash.

Moreover, cracks can obscure your vision and make it difficult to see other cars or obstacles on the road. Additionally, if your windshield is damaged, it may not provide the necessary structural support in the event of an accident. [2]

Risks of Driving With A Cracked Windshield

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A cracked windshield is one of the most dangerous things that can happen to your car. If you’re driving with a cracked windshield, you risk your safety. There are a few reasons why driving with a cracked windshield is so dangerous. 

  • First, as said, it obscures your vision. A crack in your windshield can cause your view of the road to be distorted. This can make it difficult to see other vehicles, pedestrians, and obstacles in your path. 
  • Second, a cracked windshield can weaken the structural integrity of your car. In the event of a collision, a cracked windshield will not provide the same level of protection as an intact windshield. The glass could shatter, causing severe injuries. 
  • Third, a cracked windshield can be a distraction. Taking your eyes off the road to focus on the crack can lead to a severe accident. 

Driving with a cracked windshield can be very harmful. If the crack is in your line of sight, it can cause you to lose focus on the road and possibly lead to an accident. Even if the damage is not in your direct line of sight, it can still obscure your vision and make it difficult to see the road ahead clearly. 

 If you have a cracked windshield, the best course of action is to have it repaired or replaced as soon as possible. Driving with a cracked windshield is simply not worth the risk! [3]

Is Hairline Crack In Windshield Dangerous?

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Most people think of a hairline crack in a windshield as being nothing more than a cosmetic issue. However, this type of crack can actually be quite dangerous.

This is because a hairline crack can easily turn into a larger one, obstructing your view while driving and potentially leading to an accident. If you have a hairline crack in your windshield, it’s important to have it repaired as soon as possible. In many cases, this can be done cheaply and easily at a local auto glass shop.

However, if the crack is left untreated, it will only worsen over time. In some cases, the crack may even spider out, making it even more difficult to see through. [4]

Will A Cracked Windshield Shatter?

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A cracked windshield is less likely to shatter if it is repaired promptly. If the crack is not fixed, the windshield shattering will increase, especially if something hits again in the same spot. 

A windshield is composed of two layers of glass with a layer of plastic in between. The plastic layer is what keeps the windshield from shattering if it is hit.

When a windshield is hit, the impact usually causes the inner layer of glass to crack. If the outer layer of glass is also broken, then the plastic layer is the only thing holding the windshield together. If the windshield is hit hard enough, the plastic layer can give way, and the windshield will eventually shatter.

Thus, a cracked windshield will not necessarily shatter, but it significantly weakens the glass and makes it more susceptible to shattering.

How Long Will A Cracked Windshield Last?

A cracked windshield can last anywhere from a few days to a few months, depending on the size and severity of the crack. If the crack is small and only extends a few millimeters into the glass, it can often be repaired with a simple at-home repair kit.

However, if the crack is more than a few millimeters deep or if it extends across the entire windshield, it will need to be replaced. In most cases, cracks spreading across the windshield cannot be repaired and must be replaced.

How Long Can You Drive With A Cracked Windshield?

There is no definitive answer to how long you can drive with a cracked windshield, as getting the crack fixed as soon as possible is recommended. As mentioned multiple times, cracks in your windshield can cause visibility issues and may lead to further damage if not addressed.

You might get away with a small crack for a couple of days, months, or years, but you should never forget that a small crack means the whole windshield structure is weakened, and the further issue can appear at any time.

Is It Legal To Drive With A Cracked Windshield?

 

police_officer.jpegMost states have specific laws surrounding cracked windshields. It is generally illegal to drive with a cracked windshield, as it obstructs the driver’s view and can be unsafe. 

Furthermore, in some states, such as California, selling a car with a cracked windshield is illegal. So, if you are planning on buying a used car, be sure to check the windshield first.

Thus, it’s not worth risking. In addition to the danger the crack poses to your safety, driving with a cracked windshield can cost you a fine or even have your driver’s license suspended. [5]

How To Avoid A Crack In Windshield

By now, we can already agree that a cracked windshield can be a big inconvenience. However, you can do a few things to avoid getting a cracked windshield. 

  1. First, make sure to clean any debris or snow off of your windshield before you start driving. This will help prevent small rocks or other objects from hitting and cracking your windshield. 
  2. Second, try to park in a covered or sheltered area to protect your windshield from bad weather. 
  3. Third, avoid using windshield wipers if possible, as they can cause the crack to spread. 
  4. Fourth, let the car cool down naturally instead of using AC after parking in heat. This will protect the windshield glass.
  5. Finally, when parked, cover the glass with a tarp or a similar cloth. It will protect the glass from both heat and unexpected peddles. 

Costs Of Repairing A Cracked Windshield

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Repairing a cracked windshield is less expensive than replacing the entire windshield. The cost of repairing a cracked windshield will vary depending on the size and location of the crack, as well as the type of vehicle. In some cases, the cost of repairs can be as high as $500 or more. 

Replacing a windshield is often more expensive than repairing a crack, but it may be the only option if it is large or in a difficult-to-reach location. The replacement cost can range from $1,000 to $3,000 or more, depending on the make and model of the vehicle.

Does Insurance Cover Cracked Windshield Costs?

When you have a cracked windshield, the first thing you should do is call your insurance company. Many insurance companies will cover the cost of repairs or replacement of your windshield, but it is always best to check with your insurer to be sure. 

Some insurance companies have a deductible for windshield repairs or replacement, so you will need to factor that in as well. If your insurance company does not cover the cost of repairs or replacement, there are a few other DIY options to avoid expenses and drive safe. [6]

DIY Of Fixing A Cracked Windshield

Before you attempt a do-it-yourself windshield repair, there are a few things you need to know. 

First, cracks longer than 6 inches generally can’t be repaired, and the windshield will need to be replaced. 

Second, even shorter cracks may need to be repaired by a professional if they’re located in the driver’s direct line of sight.

 Assuming your crack meets the criteria for a DIY windshield repair, your next step is to gather the supplies you’ll need.

 The main component of any windshield repair kit is resin, which is used to fill the crack or chip. You’ll also need a way to apply the resin, such as a syringe and a curing light. 

If the crack is small, you may be able to fill it in with a DIY windshield repair kit

These kits have everything you need to fix a small crack and are relatively easy to use. 

How To Use Windshield Repair Kit?

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Once you have your supplies, the next step is cleaning the crack area. This is important because any dirt or debris in the crack will prevent the resin from bonding properly. Once the area is clean, apply the resin to the crack using the syringe.

Be sure to fill the crack completely, but don’t overfill. After the crack is filled, cure the resin with UV light. This step is important because it causes the resin to harden and bond with the glass.

 Once the resin is cured, your crack should be significantly less visible. While a DIY windshield repair won’t make the crack disappear completely, it can help to prevent it from spreading. And, it’s a much cheaper alternative to replacing the entire windshield. 

However, if the crack is too big to be repaired with a kit, you will need to replace the windshield. This is a more expensive option, but it is the only way to ensure that your windshield is safe and structurally sound.

 No matter how you choose to fix a cracked windshield, make sure to do it as soon as possible. Driving with a cracked windshield is dangerous and can lead to further damage. 

Bottom Line

Overall, when driving with a cracked windshield, you put yourself and others in danger. No matter how experienced and professional a driver you are, a crack in your windshield can lead to severe issues, and if not repaired promptly, you might end up with worse damages and higher costs. It’s always important how you drive.