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Navigating the Crack: What to Do When Your Windshield is Damaged

Picture this: You’re driving along a scenic highway, enjoying a podcast or your favorite playlist, when suddenly a rogue stone flies out from under the tire of the car ahead and impacts your windshield. You hear the loud “crack,” and then you see it—a web-like crack sprawling across your field of vision. Panic sets in. What should you do next?

A cracked windshield is not just a cosmetic issue; it’s a significant safety concern. Your windshield serves as a protective barrier between you and the outside world, and its structural integrity is crucial for your safety. So if you find yourself with a cracked windshield, here are some steps you should follow.

Step 1: Assess the Damage

Your immediate action should be to pull over safely and assess the severity of the damage. Is it a minor chip or a spiderweb of cracks? The size and position of the crack will determine your next steps.

  • Minor Crack or Chip: If it’s a small crack, less than the size of a dollar bill, you might be able to get it repaired rather than replaced.
  • Major Crack: If the crack is large, or if it’s at the edge of the windshield where it can spread quickly, you likely need a full replacement.

Step 2: Reduce Further Damage

While you can’t undo the damage, you can take steps to prevent it from getting worse:

  • Avoid Extreme Temperatures: Glass expands and contracts with temperature changes. Park your car in a garage if possible, or use your air conditioning and heat carefully.
  • Don’t Slam Doors: Slamming car doors can produce vibrations that might worsen the crack.
  • Apply a Temporary Seal: Clean the area around the crack with a dry cloth and apply a clear tape to seal the crack temporarily.

Step 3: Take a Picture and Document

For insurance purposes, take clear pictures of the damaged windshield, capturing the size and position of the crack. Document the circumstances leading to the damage, including date, time, and location.

Step 4: Contact Your Insurance Company

Many insurance policies cover windshield repairs and even replacements, often without affecting your premium. Call your insurance company to understand what your policy covers and what your options are.

Step 5: Consult a Professional

Whether it’s a minor crack or a major one, consult a professional for a thorough assessment. Sometimes even minor cracks can compromise the overall structure of the windshield.

Step 6: Repair or Replace

Based on your consultation:

  • Repair: For minor cracks, a quick repair might be all you need. This usually involves injecting a polymer resin into the damaged area, which is then cured and polished.
  • Replace: For larger cracks or those that are in the driver’s field of vision, replacement is often the safer option.

Step 7: Take Preventative Measures

Once your windshield is back in shape, consider taking steps to prevent future damage. Use caution when following larger vehicles that could kick up rocks, and maintain a safe distance from construction vehicles and sites.


A cracked windshield is more than an inconvenience; it’s a road hazard that demands immediate attention. The sooner you assess the situation and take appropriate action, the better off you—and your wallet—will be. Always consult professionals and take your safety into account above all else, because when it comes to driving, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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