New York State’s Laws on Windshield Damage

Most people are aware that they can get a citation for driving with a damaged windshield, but most aren’t familiar with the parameters of the law and what makes a crack or break unacceptable.

Since the Commissioner’s Regulations focus on maintaining clear vision and not the structural integrity of the windshield, they are lenient on the size, but not so much on the location.  The regulation states that cracks longer than 11 inches or “star breaks” greater than 3 inches are not allowed IF any part of the crack is within the area cleared by the windshield wipers.  So technically, it is completely within the law to have your windshield cracked all the way from one side to the other across the bottom, as long as it is under the wipers.  Legal, but not necessarily safe.

But lenient size restrictions does not mean that you can have a ten inch crack directly in the driver’s line of vision.  A separate section of state law dictates that no vehicle may operate on the roadway with glass that is broken damaged or discolored so that the driver’s visibility is obstructed.  While this code is much more open to interpretation, it would certainly restrict damage that could be a distraction to the driver.

Even repairing damage that falls within the “acute area” ( the area directly in front of the driver) is frowned upon by state officials concerned with driver safety.   Since repair of even very small breaks can cause a perceptible imperfection in the glass which naturally draws the eye away from the road to focus on the blemish.

Think of the last road trip you took where an insect was smashed right in your line of vision.  How many moments were you focused on or aware of the blob of bug juice in front of you?  Each of those moments spent glancing at the bug carcass was a precious second in which you weren’t focused completely on navigating your surroundings – and sometimes a second is all it takes for an accident to happen.

Windshield damage can be just a distracting as a dead critter, if not more.  That’s why you should have a qualified professional help you decide on the best course of action in dealing with your windshield damage.

Keep Our Troops in Mind This Holiday Season

Veterans Day is the perfect time to remember and give thanks for the courageous men and women who are serving our country, those who have in the past, and those who lost their lives in doing so.  Fortunately, Canadaigua’s Blue Star Mothers offer an opportunity to make sure that your thankfulness conveys to the troops who are currently stationed overseas.   Throughout the year the Blue Star Mothers, with help from the community, send care packages containing some of the comforts of home for the servicemen who are so far from it.

Ray Sands Glass is proud to help support this organization, with your help we would like to make this holiday season a bit more comfortable for the men and women who followed the call of duty.  The BSM have composed a wish list of everyday items that have been requested by military personnel and we would be happy to accept donations of these items at any of our Western NY locations.

To show our thanks for those donating to a great cause we will be offering free windshield repair or Aquapel in exchange for donations to the Blue Star Mothers.  So if you have been postponing the repair of a small chip or crack, stop at the store and pick up a few of the non-crushable items from their wish list and bring them into the shop.  You will have done a good deed by making the holidays a little brighter for someone who misses their family and saved yourself from needing a replacement all at the same time.

Thank You Veterans!

You Used What as an Ice Scraper?!

We have seen some serious self inflicted windshield damage caused by customers who got got creative with improvised ice removal.  And we know that nobody likes paying to replace their windshield, but it’s all the more agonizing when it is damage that could have so easily been avoided.  Today we’ll give you some of the the good, the bad and the ugly that we have seen here at the shop.

The Good:  Honestly, the only thing we would recommend using to remove ice from your windshield is an ice scraper.   While this doesn’t help in a pinch, you should get one now and keep it in your vehicle, before you find yourself in a pickle.  Another preemptive strike you might make against the ice is an application of Aquapel, which would keep the ice from sticking so firmly in the first place.  But if you find yourself unprepared and facing in impossibly icy windshield, just be patient and run the defroster to melt the ice slowly – those few minutes aren’t likely to cost you more than a new windshield.

The Bad:  Upon searching the internet, we were surprised to find many sites that recommend using your credit card, which is actually a terrible idea.  We have replaced more than a few pieces of auto glass that were damaged by using a credit card as an improvised ice removal tool.  Not only could you cost yourself a replacement, but you might end up paying for it the old fashioned way, since the ice can destroy the magnetic strip on the card and render it unusable.

The Ugly: We have heard some pretty awful ideas for improvised ice scrapers from crushed soda cans and coffee cup lids to CDs and old license plates (ouch!).  We have even seen people who used a hammer to break the ice (and the windshield) or a screwdriver to chisel at it – all simply dreadful techniques for ice removal.

If you find yourself in and “iced over” situation without a scraper remember – just defrost to avoid the cost!