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Senior Tip: Is It Safe To Drive With A Cracked Windshield?

Let’s say that you’re driving along, enjoying your day, when you hear a sharp ding against your windshield. You spot a hairline crack in your windshield glass. Uh-oh. Is it safe to keep driving?

If your windshield has only a minor crack, you can drive your vehicle home safely, but you should prioritize getting the windshield repaired immediately.

This is because what started as a very small, barely noticeable, minor chip can suddenly become a large crack or a spiderweb of cracked glass running along your windshield.

It is a safety hazard because the windshield could shatter.

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What Do You Do If Your Windshield Cracks On The Highway?

Here’s what we recommend.

Pull Over And Assess The Damage

When driving, you need a clear view of the road, especially on a busy multi-lane highway.

It’s a good idea to pull your car over to the shoulder as soon as it’s safe to do so. Get out of the vehicle and inspect the windshield damage.

Are the cracks small or do you have a major crack? Is the crack running through your line of vision?

NOTE: As you look at the cracks, please don’t touch your windshield. Putting pressure on the cracks with your fingers can make the cracks spread.

Plus, you could cut yourself on the broken pieces of glass! 

Determine If You Can Safely Drive Home

Depending on where the crack happened or how far it’s spread, a driver’s view might be impacted. 

If you can’t see what’s in front of you because of a cracked windshield, then driving is dangerous.

That’s true whether you’re on a multi-lane highway or driving on a quiet residential road.

In the most severe cases, a cracked windshield can shatter.

If you’re in the car when this happens, you could possibly be hit with shards of glass if the structural integrity of the windshield doesn’t hold up.

Keep in mind that in many parts of the United States, state laws make it illegal to drive with a cracked windshield, due to windshield obstruction laws.

In fact, more than half the states in the country have a windshield obstruction law of sorts.

In the states that abide by these laws, anything that obstructs a driver’s view through the windshield (and side mirrors) is deemed illegal.

Although the rules vary by state, if you’re found to have a broken windshield that’s obstructing your vision, you could be issued a citation and even be fined. 

Read about Elderly Driving Laws By State.

If You Can’t Get home Safely, Call A Tow Truck 

If you don’t feel comfortable driving your vehicle while its windshield is in this state, that’s okay. You’re making a safe, smart decision.

We recommend calling a tow truck to transport your vehicle to a mechanic.

You can likely ride back with the tow truck driver. If that’s not an option, get a ride from a friend or a family member or call an Uber or Lyft.

How Big Of A Crack Can Be Repaired On A Windshield?

The size of the crack must be six inches or under for a mechanic to repair your windshield.

Aside from the size of the crack, the position of the crack is also important.

For instance, if the crack is in front of any car sensors or cameras, it’s likely best to replace the windshield instead.

Discover the Best Products For Elderly Drivers.

The number of chips or cracks also guides a mechanic’s decision to repair versus replace the windshield.

If you have one crack in your windshield, that’s usually fixable, but if the shield is riddled with three or more cracks, then the glass is too damaged.

Repairing it wouldn’t likely prevent the windshield from cracking again.

Depending on your car insurance company and your plan, the cost of windshield repairs is often covered under your insurance.

Some replacement services will even come out to you rather than make you visit the mechanic so you don’t have to drive there with a bad windshield or pay to get your car towed.

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