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Windshield Laws In Texas: Is It Safe To Drive With A Cracked Windshield?

Posted March 26, 2024 | Personal Injury Blog

Driving with a cracked windshield.

Imagine you are driving along Interstate 635 when suddenly something strikes your windshield. It happened so fast, and now you see a small dent in the windshield. Over the course of the next several days, you see lines coming out from the dent – now you have a cracked windshield.

Cracked windshields are surprisingly common and can easily happen through no fault of our own while we are driving. It has been found that 30 percent of auto insurance claims have to do with windshields. However, are cracked windshields really that big of a deal?

At Fielding Law, we help our Texas clients to know the laws and protect their rights. We encourage safe driving, and we are available to answer any questions in a free consultation. Call us 24/7 at 877-880-4090 to find out more about our track record with auto accident and personal injury cases.

Texas Windshield Laws

Texas prides itself on prioritizing motorist safety, requiring an annual inspection for every vehicle registered in the state.

This annual inspection checks many things, including:

  • Tires
  • Brakes
  • Steering
  • Lights
  • Horn
  • Seat belts
  • Exhaust system and more

However, according to Texas law, an intact windshield is not a direct requirement for passing your vehicle inspection. Rather, the transportation code states that windshield wipers must be in working order, meaning that your windshield must not be too cracked or damaged so as to cause the wipers not to function anymore.

In other words, if you have a slightly cracked windshield that does not block your line of sight, and your windshield wipers still work correctly, you could pass your annual vehicular inspection. Still, that doesn’t necessarily mean that driving with a cracked windshield is always safe. 

Why Windshields Are Important

As their name suggests, windshields help to block the strong wind that would otherwise be blowing on our faces as we drive the vehicle at standard speeds. Not only do windshields protect us from the wind, but they also shield us from elements such as rain and the occasional Texas snowstorm. Additionally, they add structural integrity to our vehicles. 

Windshields are where our eyes are primarily looking as we drive a vehicle. While we also need to see out of the rearview mirrors and side windows, the windshield is our main line of sight. As we look towards where the car is going, we need to be able to see any obstacles or dangers in our path. 

Windshields are also made of a special kind of glass that protects us in the case of an accident. Instead of a simple glass pane that would shatter on impact, windshield glass doesn’t break into tiny pieces; rather, it is designed not to break apart and possibly hurt us. Windshields can save lives and are an important part of having a safe vehicle.

What Safety Risks Are Posed by Cracked Windshields

The following are dangers that cracked or damaged windshields can pose to Texas drivers:

  • Compromised line of sight
  • Risk of increased damage due to temperature changes
  • More vulnerability to shattering in an accident
  • Decreased airbag efficacy
  • Reduced structural integrity of the vehicle. 

Cracks in the windshield may start small but often spread out across the driver’s and passenger’s sides. This affects the driver’s line of sight, distracting the eye from the road, and can even cause a glare or reflection in some light conditions which can be painful for the driver’s eyes. As the vehicle is exposed to different temperatures, cracks can get bigger and even shatter in extreme weather conditions. 

In the event of a car accident, an intact windshield can help the structural integrity of the car to protect the occupants. A vehicle with a cracked windshield is much more susceptible to shattering and causing severe injuries. 

If a cracked windshield shatters in an accident and the airbags are deployed, these may not go in the right direction to offer adequate protection. The airbags could even shatter the windshield.

When You Should Fix Your Cracked Windshield

Windshield cracks can be a threat to your safety, especially when dealing with an auto accident. For the driver of a vehicle with a cracked windshield that is involved in an accident, you are likely to face more damage to the car and injuries. For the victim of an accident caused by someone with a cracked windshield, you may have a claim of negligence against that party for driving under less-than-safe conditions. 

One of people’s biggest concerns over fixing a cracked windshield is usually the cost. According to Forbes, the average out-of-pocket windshield replacement still costs between roughly $350 and $550. While this price may seem steep, a replacement could save you the cost of a ticket if the police stop you and find that your windshield crack poses a safety risk.

What matters most is the safety of you and your passengers, as well as the other people on the road with you. If you have a cracked windshield, it might be time to get it checked out and possibly fixed or replaced. Don’t let an avoidable accident happen on your watch.

How Fielding Law Can Help

As personal injury lawyers in Utah and Texas, our primary focus is helping clients with motor vehicle accident cases. We have seen many unsuspecting victims get lowball settlement offers from insurance companies, and we want to defend their rights. With over $100 million and 3,700 cases won for our clients, we have the experience of a big firm with the personal attention of a small firm. 

We believe that our client’s safety and recovery should be the top priority in any negotiation, insurance claim, litigation, or court case. We put your needs first, and we are here to help you along the way in any way we can. 

If you have questions as to how a cracked windshield may have contributed to your car accident case, feel free to contact us anytime. You can schedule a free consultation today. Contact Fielding Law at (877) 880-4090 or reach out using our online form

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Text edited by Mitchell Fielding, a personal injury lawyer and partner at Fielding Law. Mitchell is known for his hard work ethic, friendly personality and dedication to the law. You can find out personal injury law offices in Taylorsville, UT and Mesquite, TX.