Cracked windshield laws

Florida Cracked Windshield Laws

Different states have different laws regarding cracked windshields. A damaged windshield on your car can lead to all kinds of hazardous situations, but Florida traffic laws do allow driving with a damaged windshield under certain circumstances. Further clarification of the law is available below!

Is driving with a cracked windshield legal in Florida?

Florida laws do not mention cracked or damaged windshields. But there are other relevant regulations which can make driving with a damaged, chipped or broken windshield illegal.

In state of Florida you are not allowed to have any coverings, stickers or signs on the windshield. Exceptions include stickers mandatory by law, GPS devices, or toll payment devices. Any such devices or items must not obstruct driver’s clear view of the road. This is relevant for damaged windshields as well, as cracks or chips can potentially interfere with your view of the road.

All vehicle windshields must also have functioning windshield wipers. In case your damaged windshield interferes with the operation of wipers, you can get cited.

Federal regulations state that any cracks or chips smaller than ¾-inch in diameter are permitted, as long as they are not located within 3″ of another crack. However, these cracks must not be located directly in front of the driver’s view (top of steering wheel to within top edge of windshield).

Lack of clear rules and regulations for cracked windshields means it’s usually up to each police officer’s discretion whether you’ll be issued a citation or not. Unless the crack is in corner and preferably on passengers side, it’s likely you will have to pay a fine and replace or repair your windshield or other cracked windows.

See Florida Statutes: Title 13 – Motor Vehicles, Chapter 316: State Uniform Traffic Control for vehicle equipment laws, rules and regulations. Specifically, Sec. 316.2952 includes common restrictions and requirements of windows.


Windshield repair or replace?

Should you repair or replace your windshield? Depending on the extent of the damage on your car’s windshield you may be able to repair it, or otherwise completely replace it.

If the crack on your windshield is less than 3″ in length, or if you have a small chip which is smaller than the size of a quarter you should be able to repair your windshield, which will cost less than replacing it.

If your windshield is cracked directly in front of the driver’s line of sight some shops may decline repairing it, since even then it can obstruct your vision and cause safety concerns. If your windshield is too damaged you may have to replace it completely, which can cost a few hundred dollars.

In Florida car insurance companies must cover the costs of windshield repair by law (FL Statutes, Sec. 627.7288). If you have bare minimum auto insurance then you will have to pay for repairs or replacement yourself. If you have a comprehensive car insurance policy your insurer must pay for any windshield or repair.

Cracked windshield safety concerns

Impaired vision is not the only reason why you should repair or replace your broken or damaged car windshield. An undamaged windshield is stronger and in case of accidents can prevent further injuries.

In a rollover wreck, the strength of the windshield/sealant system is designed to keep the roof from crushing more than 5 inches when there is a force of approx 1-1/2 times the weight of the vehicle on the roof. In a front end collision at approximately 30mph, the windshield/sealant system is designed to keep at least 50% of the glass sealed to the car which could keep occupants from being ejected.

While you can drive with a cracked windshield and may avoid a ticket from police, it’s certainly not advisable as having a cracked windshield can be dangerous and potentially against the law in Florida and other states.

This article about Florida Cracked Windshield Laws was last updated in 2019. If any of our information is incomplete or outdated please let us know. Thank you!