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A car with a shattered windshield as if it was hit by a stone gets replaced by American Eagle Auto Glass

Can You Drive A Car With A Smashed Window?

December 1, 2021

A broken windshield can happen at any time. Your tires may kick up gravel and large rocks that damage the glass upon impact. Debris can fall out of other vehicles’ payload bays or cargo holds and crack your windshield. Extreme temperature fluctuations can result in unexpected cracks. Collisions — or the flying debris from them — may fracture or completely break windshields. If you’re wondering, “Can you drive a car with a smashed window?”, keep reading. You’ll learn a bit about Illinois road safety law plus what you can expect when getting your windshield repaired.

Is Driving With a Cracked Windshield Legal in Illinois?

Is it legal to drive with a broken windshield in the state of Illinois? The full answer’s a bit more complex than you may think. While Illinois law doesn’t explicitly mention cracked, broken, or damaged windshields, it does prohibit driving if your windshield doesn’t allow you to see the road clearly. This goes for stickers, designs, or coverings on your windshield, but it’s also applied to damaged windshields.

Federal regulations are different when it comes to windshields. Chips and cracks under 0.75 inches in diameter are OK, provided they’re also not within 3 inches of another crack. Additionally, cracks cannot be right in front of the driver’s view. This area starts at top of the steering wheel and ends at the upper edge of the windshield.

Illinois Compiled Statutes, Sec. 12-503

Illinois Vehicle Code offers some guidance on damaged windshields; section 12-503 says: “No person shall drive a motor vehicle with any sign, poster, window application, reflective material, non-reflective material, or tinted film upon the front windshield.” It also bars drivers from having objects suspended between the driver and a vehicle’s windshield. Motorists must also avoid driving with defective windshields or with snow, ice, moisture, or similar obstructions remaining on the glass.

Is Driving With a Cracked Windshield Legal in Indiana?

Indiana law does not have specific regulations for cracked or chipped windshield replacement, however, Indiana Code section 9-21-7-1 requires drivers to comply with the following:

A person may not drive or move on a highway a:
(1) motor vehicle;
(2) trailer;
(3) semitrailer;
(4) pole trailer;  or
(5) combination of a motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer;
unless the equipment upon the vehicle is in good working order and adjustment, as required in this article, and the vehicle is in a safe mechanical condition that does not endanger the person who drives the vehicle, another occupant of the vehicle, or a person upon the highway.

Officers may exercise their own discretion as to if a crack or chip in the windshield could make the vehicle unsafe or not in good condition. Failing to comply with the law can result in fines up to $169 per occurrence.

Will a Cracked Windshield Really Shatter?

You may be tempted to postpone windshield repairs, especially if you only have a small crack or chip. But that can be a costly mistake. Cracks can spread for many reasons: temperature changes, more impacts to the glass, or pressure applied to its surface. Chips and fractures can even collect small dirt particles, which may also make the damage worse.

The good news is that your windshield won’t shatter, because it consists of two glass layers sandwiching a thin plastic film; the exterior glass layer may break, but the plastic and interior layer usually help the windshield remain in the frame. It’s still a wise idea to get any damage fixed as soon as possible.

Will Insurance Pay for Windshield Repairs?

Most windshield glass damage falls under your auto insurance’s comprehensive coverage. The major exception is damage from collisions, handled by the applicable part of your policy. Keep in mind that you may have to pay a deductible, depending on whose insurance pays and which part of the policy covers the repairs. If another party is liable for the damage, that person will likely be held financially responsible.

Get Back on the Road With American Eagle Auto Glass

American Eagle Auto Glass offers high-quality auto glass repair with groundbreaking materials, skilled installation techniques, and excellent results. We’ve earned an A+ score from the Better Business Bureau for our track record of professionalism, quality, and integrity. Reach out to us through our contact form for repair services or to get your questions answered. You can also call our convenient locations in Danville or Champaign.

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