Can I Drive With a Cracked Windshield: Is It Safe and Legal?

One delicate car part is the windshield, and it can be pretty frustrating and startling for car owners to have their vehicle’s windshield cracked. Whatever the reason for the crack on the windshield, it is common for folks to ask, “Can I drive with a cracked windshield?” as they would like to know how safe it appears and what legal implications exist.

Remember, the windshield has an outstanding construction that keeps the car’s interiors from various harsh elements. You should know that this auto glass comes help in place and is sealed mostly with urethane, which further prevents a leaky windshield.

Nevertheless, a cracked windshield may occur from anything, ranging from falling little stones, branches, ice, or an auto accident. So, whether it is a hairline crack on the windshield or something bigger, this piece would guide you through handling such situations.

Can I Drive With a Cracked Windshield?

what states is it illegal to drive with a cracked windshield

The days ahead are often unpredictable, and things may occur that may leave you shaken. Nevertheless, you must handle whatever situation you face with utmost care. One annoying thing drivers have to face is having a windshield cracked, as they appear unsightly.

Whether you found your windshield cracked overnight or you got involved in an accident, it is common for such to get the structural integrity of that part of the car to weaken. Even worse, a crack on the windshield that appears in the wrong position can interfere with drivers’ vision.

Even though it may be no fault of yours that the windshield got cracked (as in most cases), it is left to you to decide what to do. In essence, the two major players when it comes to how safe a cracked windshield appears are the position of that crack and how you act in a bid to prevent worse conditions ahead, considering the structural integrity.

The most sensible thing for one to do in such a situation is to pull over and swiftly contact an experienced auto glass expert. There are various reputable glass companies out there that can help inspect the extent of the crack to fix it and prevent damages.

Indeed, you might still drive with such cracked glass, but it can be really dangerous. The longer you let such a problem slide, the more you get subjected to high risks.  

How fast does a windshield crack spread?

It would interest you to know that the time of such varies, as it appears influenced by pressure, temperature fluctuations, and other objects that get onto the cracks. These factors can cause the contraction or expansion of the glass, causing it to shatter. Thus, people appear to be in grave danger when driving cars with cracked windshields.

What States Make Driving with Cracked Windshields Illegal?

Depending on where you stay, the extent, and the position of the crack, you can find that it appears illegal to drive with broken windshields. The good news is that there are federal regulations about cracked windshields, and it would help to adhere to such rules.

Based on the laid out rule of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, whatever discoloration or crack that exists on the driver area of the windshield within the wiper sweep is considered an “out of service condition.”

Nevertheless, you would find different states possessing their unique transportation code that is related to auto windshields. With that in mind, below are a few states where driving with cracked windshields would appear illegal.

how long can you drive with a cracked windshield


Laws about windshield in Colorado State does not openly talk about the cracks on the windshield. Nevertheless, there are restrictions when it comes to obstructions on the windshield. Hence, cracks that prevent the operation of the wipers may appear illegal.

Another notable thing about the “cracked windshield law” in Colorado is that it prohibits the driving of vehicles with windshields that obstruct drivers’ view. Hence, some cracks would not be suitable for driving within the state due to this regulation.


The usage of cracked windshields within this state appears governed by the Wisconsin Transportation Code 305.34. Please know that this law subjects all cars manufactured from the 1st of January, 1936, to only come constructed with safety glass.

Again, this regulation further relays that there should be no excessive cracks or damages on the windshield. 

With intricate details, the law suggests that there should be no cracks within or outside the critical areas of the windshield, and stone/shot damages should not appear greater than five inches in diameter. Furthermore, such cracks should not exceed over eight inches from the windshield frame.


On the law regulating windshield cracks in Illinois, the law mentioned that it is illegal to drive cars with their driver area of the windshield cracked. Again, replacing the cracked windshield would require glasses of the same quality as the previous one to restore their original state.

Is it illegal to drive with a cracked windshield in Illinois? Although this law doesn’t specify the extent or size of the cracks that appear illegal, drivers are not permitted to move in vehicles with windshields that blur their vision. 

New York

Within New York, it is illegal to drive vehicles with chips, cracks, discoloration, or any form of defects that impairs the driver’s view on the windshield. Kindly note that cracks that appear longer than eleven inches on any path would be illegal.

Furthermore, star cracks on windshields that appear more than three inches in diameter appear illegal. Thus, it would be better to fix cracked windshields jagged and sharped-edge broken windows as soon as possible.


Georgia holds prohibitory laws on cracks appearing on windshields like a spider web or starburst patterns exceeding 3×3 inches. Furthermore, Georgian drivers are prohibited from driving with vehicles whose windshield has damage that obstructs their view.

Furthermore, it would interest you to know that cracks on windshields that prevent the correct movements of wipers are illegal.

What Should I Do With a Cracked Or Shattered Windshield?

One can still drive with a windshield that appears cracked, but this seems pretty dangerous. Based on studies, over 3,700 persons get involved in auto crashes leading to death, and some of such accidents result from windshield problems.

A cracked windshield would often compromise the driver’s safety, and some regions in the United States have regulations that govern cracked windshields. Hence, this issue is a serious one that requires urgent action.

The windshield indeed comes constructed to have some resistance to certain physical impacts. Still, the following are some things expected for drivers to do if their windshield suddenly shatters while driving.

  • Stop the Car: Kindly pull over to a safe spot along the road, ensuring you do not hit the brakes suddenly to prevent any form of accident. In essence, after noticing the cracks, you should decrease the car’s acceleration and indicate to vehicles behind that you would be stopping.
  • Contact the Authorities: In a case where the car’s windshield got cracked because a person threw something against it or hit it forcefully with an object, this would be the right option. There are specific legal authorities that handle such cases, and it would be in your best interest to contact them.
  • Contact Windshield Experts: Various experts can handle such issues, and some can inspect the windshield immediately you call them. Thus, seeking the assistance of such professionals would make the task easier and better.
  • Drive Carefully to Service Stations: If you are keen on taking the vehicle for a windshield replacement at any auto service station, it will help if you can wear protective glasses. Such protective gear would help keep stray pieces of such shattered glasses from your eyes. 

Further, wrap yourself in a piece of cloth that covers your skin from the glasses. Again, drive gently to prevent the wind resulting from the high speed to move the glasses towards your direction.


Q: How long should you drive with a cracked windshield?

A cracked windshield is a safety hazard, and folks shouldn’t ignore such issues. With that in mind, no set time entails the safe driving of vehicles with cracked windshields.

Nevertheless, you should know that the longer this problem exists, the higher the risk of getting the crack spreading; hence, it would further appear tasking to make small repairs. In essence, it would be of utmost importance to get the car parked and try to get the damage inspected by professionals that would either repair or replace the windshield.

Q: What size of cracks on windshields are repairable?

When it comes to cracks or chips that reach about an inch in diameter and doesn’t exceed three-inch-long, you can expect such to appear repairable. In essence, you may need to start making a budget for a windshield replacement if the size of the cracks exceeds the one mentioned above.

So, since the size is a major factor, you should further note that the area of the crack can also be another prominent factor. Nevertheless, it would help to leave this to the discretion of the windshield expert.

Q: How do I make my windshield crack go away?

Most car owners employ a couple of methods to make cracked windshields look better, and one is the application of either super glue or nail polish (a clear one). This solution mentioned above can help you out when dealing with minute cracks.

Still, you can consider getting a suitable windshield repair kit that would offer excellent solutions that would work for such problems. If the crack on the windshield seems pretty bad, then you should consider scheduling a meeting with the repair or replacement expert.

Q: What happens if my windshield cracks all the way across?

A windshield cracking all the way across can be a serious problem, as such damage would often need a replacement. You should note that there is a high chance of the windshield shattering in such a case, as the contact with water, air, or even change in temperature can influence such.

However, a modern windshield comes constructed with strong adhesives that hold the glasses in place; as such, broken pieces of the glass are less likely to fall into the vehicle. Hence, you can have the time to quickly visit the repair shop to fix or replace the entire windshield.

Q: What is the cost of repairing a cracked windshield?

The cost of repairing cracked windshields varies, depending on the extent of the damage and the auto glass service station’s location. However, prices often range from $60 to $100 for a chip, and you can spend up to $125 or even more, considering longer cracks.

Nevertheless, it would be helpful to consider getting the exact cost from the auto glass expert near you. After a thorough inspection of the extent of the crack, you can get the full cost of repairing the cracked windshield. 

Q: Are 12 inches cracks on windshields repairable?

Based on the guide published by the NWRA (National Windshield Repair Association) on the “Repair of Laminated Automotive Glass Standard,” you can safely fix bullseyes or chips on windshields reaching 12 to 14 inches long.

Nevertheless, such repairs would depend on several factors, and as such, it would be best to leave the decision of repairing or replacing to the auto glass expert.

Q: Will nail polish stop a windshield crack?

Nooks and crannies between the cracks of windshields can be filled using clear nail polish. The effect of the nail polish is that it would keep the cracked areas protected from cold and other harsh elements.

Hence, such a swift act would prevent the cracks from further expanding and reduce the chances of the glass shattering.

Q: Does filing a windshield claim increase insurance?

It is often little or no significance of the windshield claim on premiums. In essence, such a glass claim for the repair or replacement of a cracked windshield should not affect the rates of your car insurance in any way.

However, some insurers would find multiple claims as higher risks, translating to higher premiums. Nevertheless, persons who hold claim-free credits may find such disappearing upon renewals.

Q: Can I go through a drive-through car wash with a cracked windshield?

Washing the windshields is an intricate aspect of visiting the car wash, and it would interest you to know that you can wash vehicles with cracked windshields. However, you may want to think twice about applying water to the cracks or chips.

It is notable for such moisture pressure during the application of the water to further increase the cracks and cause the glass to shatter. Thus, such an act could result in an even bigger problem, and as such, it would be best to consider fixing the cracked windshield before commencing car washing. 

Q: Can I drive Uber with a cracked windshield?

Uber drivers should always put the safety of the passengers first, and it is common for cracked windshields to blur the vision of drivers. Such hindrances can prevent the driver from having a clear view of the road, leading to some serious accidents.

Again, the legal implications of driving vehicles with cracked windshields seem persistent in various states within the United States. Thus, such laws would prevent Uber drivers within that region from driving with cracked windshields.

Final Words

Can I drive with a cracked windshield, and what legal implications exist? Various car owners ask these and more similar questions. Cracked windshields remain one of the most annoying issues for drivers to handle and can be pretty common due to various factors. 

Thus, the topic “is it safe to drive with a cracked windshield” appears famous on Reddit. Kindly note that it appears possible to drive with a cracked windshield; nevertheless, there is a high risk involved. Furthermore, some states prohibit the driving of vehicles with chips or cracks on their windshields.


Hi there, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I worked as a Mechanic and Mechanic Supervisor for over fifteen years at Global Rebound Automotive companies - Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others. Now, I enjoy my new role of leading a team of automotive experts (in their respective fields) and publish new content on a regular basis on my website and social media.

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