Is It Safe to Drive With a Broken Windshield?

It’s one thing that no one wants to deal with — a broken windshield. Whether it’s a small crack or a massive spiderweb, it’s a pain in the rear because now you’ve got to get it replaced, which can be an expensive proposition. Is it safe to drive with a broken windshield, or should you be making an appointment for a repair as soon as it starts to crack?

How Big Is the Crack?

How big is the crack in your windshield? Is it a tiny chip that you can barely see when you’re sitting behind the wheel, or is it a massive spiderwebbed crack that stretches from one side of the glass to the other?

Broken Windshield

Ideally, you’ll want to replace your windshield as soon as it’s cracked — and a comprehensive insurance policy will typically cover the cost. If the damage is in a corner, you can get away with putting it off until you have the time and money to replace it. 

Where’s the Crack Located?

Where is the crack located on the windshield? If it’s a massive star of breaks right in your line of sight, then it’s not safe to drive your car until you fix or replace the windshield. Cracks, even small ones, will tend to open up over time, usually running toward the nearest edge as the glass heats and cools, expanding and contracting. 

Again, if it’s in a small, out-of-the-way place, you may be able to put off your repair. Just don’t let it obscure your vision, because it will create a safety hazard. 

Does the Crack Affect Structural Integrity?

Ignoring a crack in your windshield can be downright dangerous if you’re in an accident. An uncracked windshield will help protect you in the event of a rollover or front-end collision. If there’s a crack in the windshield, however, you’ve got a weak spot that could cause the glass to fail unexpectedly. This could create a massive safety hazard that could cause additional injuries during an accident. 

Windshield Crack

Your well-being is vital if you’re in a front-end collision or a rollover. Your windshield is an integral part of your car’s safety system, which is why it’s important to replace it if a weakness could cause injuries during an accident.

When to Replace Your Windshield

Most states require that your windshield is free of cracks for your car to be considered street legal. The break should not impair your vision. Only three of these states — Florida, South Carolina and Kentucky — waive your insurance deductible if you have a comprehensive policy. Therefore, you can get the glass replaced with no cost to you out of pocket. 

Staying Safe

Make sure you take extra steps to stay safe on the road this winter. Keep a safety kit in your car at all times, including things like tire repair for any flats, road flairs, a first aid kit, extra food and water, and blankets. If your windshield shatters while driving, you might be stuck for until someone can get you. While it might be tempting to leave a broken windshield until you can afford to replace it, it isn’t safe to drive with a crack — even if it’s not in your line of sight. Repair or replace your windshield as soon as possible after cracks appear to ensure your safety. It’s well worth it.