Some car owners are simply annoyed by a crack or rock chip in their windshield because of its unsightly appearance. However, there are more serious consequences to consider after a windshield is damaged.

Some people may want to put off repairs if the crack or chip is small and barely noticeable, but even a small crack can expand — especially if the weather turns cold. If you have a cracked windshield, here’s why even small cracks and chips are a problem.

1. You Could Fail Safety Inspections

Depending on your state’s laws, you could be penalized for a cracked windshield during a safety inspection. In the state of Virginia, you are required to get a safety inspection every year. If you fail a safety inspection due to a cracked windshield, you may have to pay fines, or you may disqualify for registration until you fix the problem.

While every jurisdiction is different, you could fail a safety inspection if

  • The crack is on the driver’s side or obstructing the driver’s vision at all
  • The crack causes windshield wipers to get caught or slow down

You don’t want to get in trouble for driving without a renewed registration, so it’s important to repair your windshield and any other issues that would cause you to fail the inspection.

2. You Could Be Vulnerable to Accidents and Lawsuits

Windshield cracks can be a source of distraction for the driver since they tend to draw eyes away from the road, obscure your view, and cause reflected glare from sunlight. These distractions can much more easily lead to a car accident. And if you get into a car accident that hurts another person, that person could file a personal injury claim.

3. You Could Be Injured During a Rollover Accident

Your windshield doesn’t just protect you from the elements, it provides structural support to the cabin of your vehicle. In fact, your windshield provides about 60% of the structural strength during a rollover. Small cracks — especially ones near the edge of the glass — can reduce your vehicle’s protective strength.

If the windshield is compromised, then the roof of the car could easily smash in and crush passengers during a rollover accident.

4. You Could Put Your Passengers at Risk

When your car gets hit, the airbags will deploy so that passengers’ heads are protected from striking the dashboard and windshield. Airbags are usually deployed upwards first to prevent passengers from hitting glass. If there’s a crack in the glass, the airbag can actually bust through the crack and deploy improperly. This means your passenger could hit their head on the dashboard.

Furthermore, if your car doesn’t have airbags and a passenger gets thrown toward a damaged windshield, they could be ejected from the car. Whereas, a secure windshield without a crack could withstand the force and keep passengers inside the vehicle.

As you can see, there are serious monetary, safety, and liability concerns with even small cracks. If your windshield is cracked, you should get to an auto body paint and repair shop right away. If the polyvinyl butyral (PVB) layer of the window has been damaged or the crack is too long or deep, the shop may decide to do a full replacement of the windshield.

You can also check your auto insurance policy to see if they will help cover a portion or all of the costs to fix your windshield.

If you cannot get into an auto shop right away, contact Downtown Garage & Auto Body. We make on-site visits so our technicians can assess the damage and fix it right away, whether you’re at work, school, or home.