We often get asked this question: Is it illegal to drive with a cracked windshield in Vancouver?
Visibility in your car is essential to keeping yourself, your passengers, and others on the roads safe. It’s not exactly illegal to drive with a cracked windshield — you are not going to get thrown in jail!. However, since you are risking people’s lives, there are ways that you can be penalized.
Since not all cracked windshields are the same in severity, there is a range of penalties.
If you get pulled over because of a cracked or broken windshield, there are a few ways the police might deal with the situation. They may issue a notice and order to repair ticket, or they might order removing the vehicle from the road if it’s serious enough.
Is it arbitrary? No! There are rules for when you can be penalized. They are:
- a crack over 300 mm long in any part of the windshield
- more than two cracks over 150 mm long in any one piece of glass
- a central chip more than 40 mm in diameter
- two or more bursts over 20 mm in diameter in any one piece of glass
- broken glass showing sharp edge
Why is law enforcement so tough on cracked windshields?
It’s not just about keeping others safe, it’s for the safety of the driver and their passengers, too. A cracked or chipped windshield affects the structural integrity of the vehicle if you are in a collision.
The windshield is actually a load-bearing structure, and having it intact is essential to transfer the force of impact down the chassis. Further, proper airbag functioning depends on an intact windshield.
In other words, a car accident like a front-end collision could go from bad to life-threatening because of the condition of your windshield. So, it’s more than just the aesthetics or inconvenience, there are people’s wellbeing involved.
The other thing to keep in mind, besides the $56 fine you might get in BC, is that a cracked windshield is only going to get worse over time. A small chip can spider outward and a crack in the windshield is only going to grow.
At our auto body shop, we see plenty of cracked and chipped windshields — we deal with them every day. And while it might seem annoying to repair something that’s not really bothering you, it’s actually an easy fix for a problem that has the potential to be really bad.
Beyond windshields, it’s important to take the time to make sure your visibility is good before taking your vehicle on the road. Clear off the snow and defrost your windows fully before you start driving in the winter, and to make sure your windshield wipers are in good condition and doing their job.
And if there is damage to your windshield, don’t put yourself and others at risk. Bring your vehicle into an auto body shop and get the damage repaired.