Los Angeles is one of the busiest motoring centers in all of the United States. There are 5.4 million cars in Los Angeles and over 1 million commercial vehicles. With all this traffic, there’s going to be some broken windshields!

In this article, we’re going to go over some of the top reasons why people need windshield replacement, how to avoid breaking your windshield and how to get it fixed.

Top Causes of Broken Windshields in Los Angeles

Angelinos are somewhat lucky that they don’t live in a place like Arizona where broken windshields are such a common problem that you might have to get your windshield replaced twice a year! Arizona is a particularly rocky place and a lot of rocks fly up (or off trucks) and break windshields.

However, Los Angeles is busy and the freeways have a lot of activity on them. People are speeding around, kicking up debris – commercial trucks are barreling down roads and freeways. All of this is a recipe for a lot of busted windshields. Below we go through some of top causes for why windshields get broken in Los Angeles.

1. Freeway Debris

freeway debris

The busy 101 Freeway (Source)

As you’ve probably noticed, most of your broken windshields have come from driving around on our glorious freeways. The actual event of a broken windshield may seem mysterious at first. You hear a loud “CRACK” and instantly there’s a large crack on your windshield.

“How did that happen?”

“Where did the thing that did that come from??”

You rarely see the impact when your windshield breaks on the freeway. And that should make you glad you have a windshield! Imagine what that thing would have done to your eyes or teeth!

The freeway environment is chaotic, with high energy and high velocity. It’s a downright dangerous place. This environment brews the perfect storm for flying debris. It can be from rocks that get kicked up from fast-moving vehicles or debris that falls off vehicles. In very rare cases, stuff will fall from the sky and break windshields.

2. Gravel-Hauling Trucks

gravel hauling truck

This is the type of truck to look out for!

Believe it or not, there are a lot of these trucks driving around Los Angeles. They will be towing a trailer that has no roof or an uncovered top. There will be either gravel or other debris in this bed. As the truck travels down the road, the vibrations (the bumps, cracks, and reflectors it runs over) will cause gravel or debris to fly out of the bed. This is probably the most common reason why car windshields break in Los Angeles.

3. Fallen Tree or Tree Branch

fallen tree on windshield

This tree probably damaged more than just the windshield (Source)

This is probably one of the rarer reasons why car windshields break in Los Angeles, but we do get strong winds from time to time. During the fall, the Los Angeles area will be hit by the Santa Ana winds. These are strong winds that blow from the desert towards the ocean. Sometimes gusts can hit over 90 miles per hour. More recently, a record gust was recorded at 130 miles per hour near Santa Clarita!

The wind conditions associated with Santa Anas will break tree branches and even topple entire trees. This has been known to break windshields and dent vehicles.

4. Boulder and Rock Slides

Los Angeles and the surrounding areas are full of canyons and mountainous roads. You may have seen this sign before driving around these parts:

falling rock slide signs

What that means is you’ve been driving along roads that have been known to let gravel, rocks and boulders roll down from the hillside from time to time. Occasionally, rocks can actually roll and jump out a distance before falling on your windshield.

How To Prevent Getting Your Windshield Broken in Los Angeles

1. Drive Slower

drive slow


This tip has SO MANY advantages. I know, we’re all over-caffeinated, always in a rush, pedal to the metal. Gotta get somewhere fast.

But just breathe. Take a second to think about the important things in life. Stop living in such a rushed, anxious mindset. You’ll thank us later :).

Driving slower will reduce the impact of flying debris that hits your windshield. This alone will save you hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars in repair costs.

But look at the other advantages of driving slower:

  • Better gas mileage / less money spent on gas
  • Better chance of surviving an accident
  • Lower insurance costs (from less accidents and less traffic tickets)
  • Less maintenance costs (from less wear and tear on your vehicle)
  • Less CO2 emissions (better for the planet)

2. Don’t Drive Behind Gravel-Hauling Trucks or Big Trucks In General

If you get on the freeway and you see a gravel-hauling truck up ahead, safely move over to a lane (or lanes) where you can keep your distance from them. This will reduce the likelihood of a rock or pebble getting shot out at your windshield. You may have noticed this sign on the back of these trucks:

warning stay back 300 feet not responsible for broken windshields

There’s a good reason for this sign! They’re warning you that all kinds of crud is going to come flying out of their truck and break your windshield. You can stay back 300 feet if you want, but you’ll probably be traveling at 50 mph. It’s best to just change lanes and drive the speed limit.

3. Know When The Santa Ana Winds Are Blowing

santa ana winds


If you’re a surfer, you’re well aware of Santa Ana winds. If you’re not, all you really have to observe are high winds with no clouds. If there isn’t a cloud in the sky but it’s really windy, that means the Santa Anas are blowing. In this case here are some tips to avoid broken windshields:

  • Park your car in a garage.
  • Park your car in a carport.
  • Park your car away from trees.

How To Get Your Car Windshield Replaced in Los Angeles

Well, you can call Alfa Auto Glass at (714) 323-2672 and we can travel to your home or office and replace your windshield for you. We don’t charge an extra fee to travel to you – it’s included in our service.

You can read some of our Yelp reviews here:

Read Crystal R.‘s review of Alfa Auto Glass on Yelp

Read Michael T.‘s review of Alfa Auto Glass on Yelp

Read April J.‘s review of Alfa Auto Glass on Yelp

Understandably, you may want to shop around first, do some comparing, etc. By all means, go for it! Whoever you pick to replace your windshield, just make sure they’re reputable and trustworthy. Windshields are a safety feature of your vehicle – so do it right the first time!

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