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Is It Illegal To Drive With a Cracked Windshield In Texas?

Is It Illegal To Drive With a Cracked Windshield In Texas?

Flying debris and other causes can create cracks in auto glass, including windshields. You may wonder if you can drive legally if your windshield is cracked. You might be surprised to learn that federal and state laws are in place to govern driving with chips or cracks in your windshield.

State laws vary, so it’s essential to know the laws in your state. Fielding Law explains Texas laws and their impact on your liability if you cause an accident when driving a car with a cracked windshield.

Is Driving With a Cracked Windshield Illegal in Texas?

While Texas laws don’t specifically mention cracked windshields, they do specify other prohibitions that can include cracked windshields in certain situations. Failing to repair or replace the damaged glass when it violates these standards may indicate negligence, which can make you liable for paying damages if you cause a car crash.

Federal Regulations

According to federal regulations, drivers must have a clear view of the road ahead. A windshield can have cracks or chips with less than a ¾-inch diameter as long as there are at least three inches between them and other cracks.

However, these chips or cracks can’t be within the critical vision area. This area is located immediately above the steering wheel, one inch from the sides and two inches from the top.

Texas Regulations

Windshields aren’t an inspected item in Texas, but you can fail your vehicle’s inspection if:

  • A crack or chip makes the windshield convex or concave; windshield wipers must be able to maintain full contact with the windshield.
  • The location of chips or cracks falls within the critical vision area.
  • The cracks or chips are too large or close together per federal regulations.

Drivers also aren’t allowed to place stickers or other objects onto windshields that limit visibility.

Why Is Limited Visibility Prohibited?

Many factors, including cracked or chipped windshields, can cause poor visibility. These situations are hazardous because drivers:

  • May have difficulty identifying obstacles on the road
  • Can’t accurately judge distances
  • Might experience delayed reaction times
  • May not see pedestrians, cyclists, or other vehicles clearly

Any of these situations are likely to cause collisions.

What Other Factors Can Cause Poor Visibility?

Windshield damage isn’t the only thing that can limit driver visibility. These become even more dangerous when a car has a cracked windshield.

Weather Conditions

Falling rain, sleet, hail, and snow can be so heavy that it’s difficult for drivers to see. Low-lying fog can also significantly reduce sight distance.

Other Environmental Factors

Strong winds can carry dust across roadways, limiting visibility. Smog caused by heavy pollution may make it difficult as well. Sunlight can also glare on fallen snow or ice.

Time of Day

You probably realize that driving at night poses difficulties. You’re more likely to experience fatigue, and darkness means you can’t see as well as you can during the day. Sunrise and sunset can also adversely impact your ability to see because the sun can shine directly into your eyes.

Poor Road Design

Drivers need proper sight distance to drive safely. For example, poorly designed intersections and road curvatures may not provide adequate sight distance.

Direct Obstructions

Windshield cracks aren’t the only kind of direct obstruction drivers can face. Dirty auto glass, signage, dense trees, and overgrown roadside vegetation can also reduce your ability to see.

What Is Negligence?

In legal terms, negligence is failing to act with reasonable care to prevent harm to yourself or others. Licensed drivers have a duty of care that requires them to drive safely, and driving with a cracked windshield that violates federal or state standards isn’t safe.

Say that Joe’s windshield has cracks in the critical vision area, and Joe’s car hits you and causes injuries. To prove negligence in this accident, your attorney will show that:

  • Joe had a duty of care
  • Joe breached his duty of care (he failed to replace or repair the damaged windshield)
  • Joe’s breach caused an accident
  • The accident caused damage to you

Collisions can crack or break glass, so proving that Joe’s windshield had cracks before your accident may be challenging. Your Fielding Law attorney will investigate and gather evidence to support your claim.

What Should You Do After a Car Accident?

To protect your health and legal rights, there are several things you should do after an auto accident.

Assess and Assist

Several people may sustain injuries in a car accident. If you’re able, try to help other victims and note the severity of their injuries.

Dial 911

When you report your collision, tell the 911 operator:

  • Your location
  • The number of vehicles involved
  • How many people are injured
  • The presence of critical injuries

The information you provide will help dispatchers to decide how many first responders to send to your accident site.

Gather Evidence

You have a unique opportunity to gather evidence that your attorney can use when building your accident insurance claim or civil lawsuit. Your lawyer will perform an investigation, but evidence can become lost, hidden, or destroyed.

Use your phone to take pictures and videos of:

  • The entire accident scene from different angles
  • Vehicle damage and placement
  • Injuries
  • Potholes, other roadway obstructions, and skid marks
  • Witnesses and their statements
  • Lighting and weather conditions
  • Any other pertinent details

The photographic evidence you provide may be crucial.

Accept or Seek Medical Attention

There are two excellent reasons to obtain a medical assessment immediately after a car accident. Some injuries are internal or may develop over time. An examination by a medical professional can find these conditions that aren’t necessarily visible, potentially saving your life.

Your lawyer will use the report from your assessment as a baseline for your medical condition in your personal injury case. Without this exam, insurance companies may say that you didn’t sustain your injuries in the accident in an attempt to avoid paying compensation.

Call a Car Accident Attorney

You have time to file an accident claim or lawsuit, but it’s in your best interests to initiate it quickly after your crash. The evidence is fresher, and you won’t miss filing deadlines, not to mention that the wreck probably caused a financial strain.

When you hire Fielding Law, we will:

  • Give you the personal attention you deserve
  • Advise you of your legal options
  • Submit paperwork to the appropriate parties
  • Become your spokesperson with insurance company representatives
  • Investigate the cause of your accident
  • Gather evidence that supports your claim
  • Negotiate a favorable settlement or take your case to trial

We will also advise you about things you shouldn’t do, such as sign any paperwork before we look it over. Fielding Law will fight to protect your interests every step of the way.

Do You Need a Car Accident Lawyer?

Fielding Law is a five-star firm that focuses on personal injury cases. We have won more than $60 million for our clients, and we want to help you too. We have offices in Texas and Utah for your convenience, and we know the laws in each state to ensure your right to compensation after a car accident is protected.

Contact Fielding Law today if you sustained injuries in a car accident caused by a cracked windshield. We’ll begin with a free case evaluation, and you won’t pay any fees until we win compensation for you. Someone is available to speak to you 24/7, and Se Habla Espanol. Call us at (877) 880-4090, reach out via live chat, or submit our contact request form.