Cracked Windshield Laws in California

February 28, 2022 5:42 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

States have varying laws on what you need to do about a cracked windshield. While you might not consider it a big deal to drive with a damaged windshield, this can lead to a range of dangerous situations.

Are you wondering: “Is my windshield too cracked to drive?” Read on for the answers.

California laws on damaged windshields

The bottom line is that California’s traffic laws prohibit driving with a cracked windshield. State law does not permit drivers to operate a vehicle when their vision is impaired. That means damage to either the front or rear windshield can result in your car getting pulled over. The officer will likely issue a citation ordering repair of your windshield within 48 hours. Failure to comply with this will lead to fines.

The law doesn’t specify that a cracked windshield constitutes impaired vision. That said, a noticeably-damaged windshield is likely to result in a traffic stop. This law applies to all public and private motor vehicles, including tractor trailers, trucks, buses and other vehicles.

Exceptions to the law

There are some exceptions to the law, specifically for those with identification plates linked to Section 5004. Basically, this means that if it wasn’t required that your vehicle include a windshield when it was sold or when it was registered in California or another state, then the law on impaired vision doesn’t apply. Keep in mind that this is a very limited exemption applicable in rare circumstances.

Windshield repair and replacement

This means that at some point you will need to invest in windshield repair or replacement. Any damage greater than 3 inches in length or a chip larger than the size of a quarter means that your windshield is too cracked to drive. Even damage that’s smaller than these specifications should be addressed before it becomes a bigger problem.

In most cases, repairing a cracked windshield is cheaper than having the windshield replaced. Fortunately, if you have road hazard insurance coverage, your insurer will likely fit the bill for repairs. Consult with your insurance company to see what your policy covers.

When the windshield is cracked on the driver’s side, a repair shop may decline fixing it and favor replacement. That’s because a repaired windshield could impair vision in some cases. Replacement typically costs a few hundred dollars.

Safety concerns

Beyond impaired vision, there are other safety concerns when driving around with a damaged windshield. A windshield in good condition is stronger and therefore less prone to shattering in the case of an accident. This is especially important in rollover crashes. Windshields are designed to prevent the roof from crushing more than 5 inches even when high levels of pressure are exerted on it.

Do you need a cracked windshield repaired or replaced? Then turn to the professional auto repair specialists at Tom’s Body and Paint, Inc. We strive to offer an experience unrivaled by any other auto body shop. Our loyal customers keep coming back for our high level of service and ability to fix everything from major damage to minor blemishes. Call us today to set up your first appointment.

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