Kimiko Kidd
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What To Do If Your Windshield Takes Damage While Driving

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windshield with a large crack in the middle
Photo: Pixabay

Few things are more startling than a sudden thump on your windshield. Most of the time, road debris doesn’t even scratch the windshield, but if the impact was severe enough to cause damage, it’s time to pump the brakes and put safety first. Here’s what you can do if your windshield takes damage on the road.

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Find a safe place to pull over

Even if your windshield has a relatively small crack in it, it’s not safe to drive with. Once it’s cracked, its structural integrity has been compromised, and it wouldn’t take much force to make the glass shatter completely, especially when hit with debris at highway speeds. Don’t risk the cuts and bruises — even if it’s legal to drive with a cracked windshield in your area, you should still find a place to pull over as soon as possible.

If possible, get off at an exit and pull into a parking lot. But if that isn’t an option, and you need to pull over onto a shoulder of the highway, be sure to activate your car’s hazard lights and be cautious if you exit your vehicle.

Assess the damage

Once you’ve gotten to a safe location, it’s time to get out and inspect the damage. Use your phone to take pictures of the damage from multiple angles, from both inside and outside your vehicle. And while your memory is fresh, write down as much as you can recall about the incident that shattered your windshield. These notes and photos will be important when contacting your insurer.

Find alternative transportation

To reach your destination safely, consider contacting a friend, family member, or transportation service for a ride. If you’re expected to be somewhere, like a job or a gathering, contact anyone who’s waiting on you and explain your situation.

Schedule a replacement

When it comes to having your windshield replaced, you could save money by shopping around. Get quotes from your local dealerships and body shops. You can also contact a service like Safelite, which can repair minor chips and cracks that are 6 inches or smaller in diameter.

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For more information on handling vehicle damage, check out our article on covering the cost on an auto repair emergency.