Anyone who has driven across the country will tell you that getting a crack or chip in your windshield is fairly inevitable. The longer you drive, the more likely it is that you will get a few nicks in your windshield.
While small chips and nicks in your windshield are not major issues, they may lead to larger concerns. You see, chips in the glass create weak points that are susceptible to force; this means that you are more likely to get a full crack in your windshield if you continue to drive the vehicle in this damaged condition. These small chips can be fixed with a windshield repair kit that you can buy at an auto parts store, but it is probably a good idea to check in with an auto glass retailer if the chip is large.
Windshield cracks, however, are a beast of a different nature. Windshield cracks can be dangerous. Cracks damage the integrity of the windshield in their entirety, as well as damaging the security of your car. With the integrity of the windshield compromised, it may allow the crack to get larger as it wears, and this can make the sealing around the window less secure. In addition, with a crack already in your windshield, people make take advantage and break into your car, seriously compromising the security of the vehicle.
Now, you may decide that a cracked windshield isn't worth repairing, as these types of repairs can be expensive depending on the size and location of the crack. Unfortunately, driving around with a crack in your windshield -- depending on the nature and severity -- can be a fineable offense in several states. In California, the state law says that drivers are not allowed to drive with windshield defects that impair the driver's vision, and you must correct the issue within 48 hours of being given your ticket. If you do not correct this issue in a way that makes it compliant with the laws of California, you could be arrested.
When you do get a crack in your windshield, it is best that you get it fixed as soon as possible. These repairs should be done by a professional glass replacement company. They may decide that the crack can be sealed up with an epoxy resin, or it may be best to replace the windshield and put in a full new windshield to ensure that you are safe and up to the required specifications.