At some point, we’ve all been there. We leave the house, cross the driveway, sit down in our car only to look up and it – a crack. Sometimes it may just be a small chip. But that doesn’t change the fact that now there’s another problem to fix. Your first thought may be to just wait as long as you can and continue driving with a cracked windshield before you absolutely have to get it fixed.

But there are a lot of things wrong with that line of thinking. Living in University City brings many unpredictable variables which can affect your safety and bring more damage to your windshield.

So, what should University City drivers be looking out for?

Driving with a Cracked Windshield: What You Need to Know

Every driver should feel confident in their ability to see through their windshield and drive safely in their community. Driving with a cracked windshield simply doesn’t allow for that confidence. While a small chip might not mean much to you, but the crack always runs deeper.

Rules of the Road

You may not know it, but there are actually laws against driving with a cracked windshield. Depending on which state you live in, the severity of “punishment” may differ. In Pennsylvania, there can be no windshields with cracks or chips in the center of the driver’s side, no glass with shatters or sharp edges exposed, no large cracks or chips or areas of discoloration that interfere with a driver’s vision, or areas with etching. Failing to follow these Pennsylvania driving laws can result in fines and citations.

Replacing vs. Repairing a Windshield

In addition to blocking wind, rain, sleet, snow, bugs and any other natural (or sometimes manmade nuisance), windshields are actually a structural component of your car. In many models, the windshield actually holds some of the weight of the roof and sides. When it is damaged, the entire safety of you and your vehicle is compromised.

If you notice a small chip in your windshield, repair is usually your best option. Chips are easily repaired by most automotive glass companies and are done so quickly. However, cracks are different. Typically, when a crack is 3 inches or more, replacing is the safest option and usually necessary. If a cracked windshield isn’t replaced, the entire structural reliability of your car is shot.

Frequently Asked Questions

At Paul Bros. we see a lot of damaged windshields come through. Debris from the city, hail season, you name it can bring unwanted damage to a windshield. We also get asked a lot about windshield damage and thought we would share some of our most commonly asked questions below:

How long can I drive with my cracked windshield/is it dangerous?

While driving with a chip or very small crack in the windshield is generally not dangerous, the damaged glass should be replaced or repaired as soon as possible. The longer you drive with a damaged windshield, the more you risk further cracking and shattering. The second you notice the crack in your windshield, you are already driving around with less protection and weakened visibility. The longer you drive with a damaged windshield also allows dirt, moisture, and other debris to seep into the layered glass laminated together. There is also the possibility of fines and citations issued to those driving with a cracked windshield.

Should I be worried about shattering?

A crack in the glass is similar to a crack in ice. If you watch cracked ice carefully, you will see it start to spread. This often happened when a crack in a windshield begins to grow. Often times this is caused by changes in the weather, bumps in the road, and normal wear and tear as you continue to drive. You shouldn’t be too worried about your damaged windshield shattering, however. Because windshields are typically made from two layers of glass laminated together, they typically hold together even when the cracks spread. Do try not to press on the glass from either side of the car. Pressure will only accelerate the rate of spreading.

How can I avoid damage to my windshield?

Some things are unavoidable. Unfortunately, you cannot plan for a rock hitting your windshield while you are driving. Unpredictable weather is another thing that is hard to judge. Hail season is upon us so finding ways to cover your car is your best bet. During hail or thunderstorms or extremes winds, debris like rocks and tree branches can wreak havoc on your car’s windshield. As often as you can, try parking in garages, carports, or undercover. If you’re caught out in a storm and are worried about damage, pull into a safe gas station and try to find cover there. It is also wise to invest in a cover for your car for when you don’t have a garage or carport.

Has your vehicle recently suffered damage to the windshield? You may be wondering if it’s time to bring it in for repair. At Paul Bros., we have a team of experienced auto glass specialists who can determine what needs to be done for your windshield. Feel free to reach out and schedule an estimate or get a quote. Let’s talk!


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