Can I Take My Driver’s Test with a Cracked Windshield?

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As a teenager, the day of my driver’s test loomed before me like an impending doom. I had meticulously studied the manual, practiced parallel parking until my knuckles turned white, and memorized every road sign like the back of my hand. But as I sat in the driver’s seat of my trusty old clunker, a nagging thought gnawed at me: what if my cracked windshield prevented me from taking the test?

What To Do If Your Windshield Cracks While Driving - MagazineNP

Can I Take My Drivers Test With A Cracked Windshield

With a trembling hand, I approached the examiner and nervously inquired. To my relief, he chuckled and assured me that a small crack in the windshield would not disqualify me from taking the test. He explained that as long as the crack did not obstruct my view of the road, it was considered a minor safety hazard and would not affect my eligibility.

Windshield Damage and Driver Safety

While a small crack in the windshield may not pose an immediate danger, it’s important to address any damage to this crucial safety feature promptly. Cracks can weaken the windshield and compromise its ability to protect you in the event of an accident. Additionally, cracks can spread and obstruct your view of the road, which can increase your risk of getting into a collision.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), windshield damage is a common cause of traffic accidents. Even a small crack can impair your vision and make it difficult to see pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicles. In some states, driving with a cracked windshield is illegal and may result in a fine or even a suspended license. Therefore, it’s essential to get any windshield damage repaired as soon as possible.

Types of Windshield Damage

There are several types of windshield damage, each with varying degrees of severity and impact on your safety and driving ability. The most common types include:

  • Bullseye Cracks: These cracks start from a central point and form a circle or oval shape. They are typically caused by small impacts, such as pebbles or rocks.
  • Edge Cracks: These cracks start from the edge of the windshield and extend towards the center. They can be caused by the expansion and contraction of the windshield due to extreme temperatures or by objects hitting the edge of the glass.
  • Spider Cracks: These cracks form a series of interconnected lines that resemble a spider’s web. They are often caused by larger impacts, such as a baseball or a tree branch.
  • Combination Cracks: These cracks combine two or more types of cracks, such as a bullseye crack that extends into an edge crack.

When to Replace a Cracked Windshield

In some cases, a cracked windshield can be repaired using a specialized resin that fills in the crack and restores its strength. However, not all cracks can be repaired. The following are some indications that your windshield needs to be replaced:

  • The crack is located in your driver’s line of sight.
  • The crack is more than 6 inches long or 3 inches wide.
  • The crack is causing distortion or making it difficult to see clearly.
  • There are multiple cracks in the windshield.

Tips for Preventing Windshield Damage

There are several things you can do to reduce your risk of getting a cracked windshield:

  • Maintain a safe following distance: This will give you more time to react to sudden stops or hazards, reducing the risk of being hit by debris from other vehicles.
  • Drive defensively: Pay attention to your surroundings and be aware of potential obstacles on the road, such as potholes, rocks, and branches.
  • Park in covered areas: This will protect your windshield from hail, snow, and other objects that can cause damage.
  • Use a windshield cover: A windshield cover can protect your windshield from the sun’s rays, which can cause the glass to weaken over time.
  • Get your windshield repaired promptly: Even a small crack can weaken the windshield and make it more susceptible to further damage.

FAQ on Cracked Windshields

Q: Can I drive with a cracked windshield?

A: Yes, you can drive with a small crack that does not obstruct your view of the road. However, it’s important to get any windshield damage repaired as soon as possible.

Q: How do I know if my windshield is cracked?

A: Look for any lines, chips, or breaks in the glass. Cracks can be difficult to see at first, so it’s important to inspect your windshield regularly.

Q: How much does it cost to replace a windshield?

A: The cost of replacing a windshield varies depending on the size of the windshield, the type of glass, and the labor costs in your area. Typically, you can expect to pay between $200 and $600.

Q: Can I repair a cracked windshield myself?

A: Windshield repair is a specialized skill, and it’s not recommended to attempt it yourself unless you have the proper training and equipment. Incorrect repairs can weaken the windshield and make it less effective in an accident.


A cracked windshield can be a nuisance and a potential safety hazard. By understanding the types of windshield damage, when to replace a cracked windshield, and how to prevent windshield damage, you can keep your windshield in good condition and ensure your safety on the road. Remember, even a small crack can compromise your vision and increase your risk of an accident. If you have any questions or concerns about your windshield, don’t hesitate to consult with a qualified automotive technician.

Are you interested in learning more about automotive safety? Check out our blog for other articles on car maintenance, driving tips, and more.

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