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What to do When Your Windshield Cracks

At some point in your extended time driving on the road, your windshield may succumb to the elements of the road. Stones and rocks, basketball bounces on windshield while parked in the driveway or even drastic temperatures can lead to your windshield’s cracked condition. It’s bound to happen.

There are many dangers to driving with a cracked windshield that are preventable. Even a barely noticeable chip from say a stone that kicked up from another vehicle’s tire needs to be maintained. If not, the crack can widen at any point, especially when hitting bumps in the road.

If you let your crack go on too long you may experience leaks, causing damage to your interior. It’s cheapest just to get it repaired or replaced!

But the biggest danger of driving with a crack of any size is that the windshield could break entirely. Though modern windshields consist of plastics and laminations so that shards won’t be shattering everywhere, you will not be able to drive your vehicle even to the mechanic to get it fixed. It’s best to get it fixed as soon as possible before it becomes too much of an inconvenience.

There’s a Law for That

You as the driver need to be able to see the road clearly without any blockage and distraction. So a cracked windshield is obviously a danger to your sight of vision while driving.

But did you know that there are laws against driving with a cracked windshield? Though state laws differ, most states require the windshield to be free of any cracks with the safety glass. Some states, like Wisconsin, are specific on where the crack is located in order for it to be fixed.1
In Florida, Section 316.610 of the Florida Statutes states that it is a civil infraction to drive a vehicle that is in an unsafe condition because of faulty or defective equipment that endangers the driver or other members of the public.1 Florida courts say it is a violation of this section to drive when the cracked windshield impedes the driver’s vision.1 While the size, shape and/or length of the crack is not specifically spelled out in the law.1 However, the state law defers drivers to the federal law, which states:

  • “Cracks and chips that are smaller than ¾-inch in diameter and not located within three inches of another area of damage are permitted.
  • Cracks that do not have any other cracks intersecting them are permitted.
  • The above rules only apply if the cracks or chips are not located within the space from the top of the steering wheel to within two inches of the top edge of the windshield.2

For our other great state of Georgia, they must also follow these federal guidelines. However, they spell out the types of cracks more specifically:

  • “Windshields cannot have any areas of cracks or damage in a starburst pattern that is larger than three inches by three inches.
  • Windshields cannot have areas of cracks that create a spider web effect that is larger than three inches by three inches.”3

Some states, such as Florida, Kentucky and South Carolina will even waive your deductible for windshield replacement!1 When in doubt, it’s best to err on the side of caution and repair/replace your windshield.

If you or a friend of yours ever finds himself/herself in this predicament of having a cracked windshield, look no further than Lee & Cates Glass. We offer replacement of windshields and repairs of windshields, depending the condition of your windshield. Be sure to contact any of our locations that is closest to you.




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