GREAT FALLS- With summer vacations well underway, families are spending a lot of time on the road.
As a result, the chances of getting a chipped or cracked windshield tends to escalate.
But who’s responsible for fixing it? You? Or the driver who caused it?
“For the most part, if it's on the ground and it gets kicked up, there's really nothing we can do,” explains James Humiston, a MHP Trooper
For the Montana Highway Patrol, the incident has been nicknamed the, "Act of God," because there isn't any other way to put it.
In fact, one of the only ways someone can be held liable is if they don't have mud flaps.
“The mud flap law is pretty much the height of the bumper when it's under load, and that will base if they technically have to have mud flaps,” explains Humiston.
According to the Montana code, if a vehicle has a gross vehicle weight over 8,000 lbs, the mud flaps need to be no more than 10 inches above the road.
If your vehicle weighs less than 8,000lbs, than the mud flaps need to be 20 inches above the road.
However, if you do happen to be the unlucky individual with a cracked windshield, there are some things you need to do.
“The best thing would be to put some scotch tape over that chip until they can get into the shop to get it fixed. You don't want to wash it before you get it fixed; you want to try not to use your washer fluid, anything like that. Basically, you want to keep any kind of contaminants out of that chip,” explains Dave Disbrow, a glass technician.
Filling chips typically run about $60 while windshield replacement can run anywhere between $250- $1,000, depending on the vehicle.
However, if you don't get it fixed, you're looking at a much bigger problem.
“If its impeding your view, you know, that's where we'll be pulling vehicles over,” says Trooper Humiston.
Not only this, but a cracked windshield becomes a safety concern as well.
“A lot of people don't realize the windshield is actually part of the structural integrity of the roof. You know, windshields already cracked, you tip it over, you got a higher chance of getting trapped in the vehicle,” explains Disbrow.
At the end of the day, when it comes to a cracked windshield, the best thing to do is get it filled or replaced as soon as possible.