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. Or Get A Quote Now

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.