Ask a Trooper: What's the law about fold-down windshields?

Sgt. Neil Dickenson, Minnesota State Patrol

Question: I have a 2018 Jeep Wrangler that has a windshield from the factory that has the ability to fold down. I am just wondering if the windshield is properly folded down and strapped as per the factory design if this is then legal to drive on highway, county or state roads in Minnesota?

While I doubt I'll ever be zipping down Interstate 94 with the windshield down, it would make it a lot easier driving between off-road trails to not put it up and down, but I don't want to break the law.

I could only find the statute that indicates that if you do have a windshield you need to have wipers. So it sounds like there isn't a law per se that says, "Shall have a windshield on all on-road vehicles," so I am assuming if the vehicle wasn't designed to have one (like a motorcycle) it’s not required.

However, it doesn't appear to specify what the rule is when you have a windshield, but the factory designed it to fold down. So the law is kind of gray in my mind and I hope you can advise how the State Patrol approaches this law or rules for highway use.

Thanks in advance for any information or understanding of the statute you would be able to share!


Answer: We get this question fairly often, and it brings out some good discussion. When it comes to a windshield in a passenger vehicle, you are required to have one. Under Minnesota State Statute 169.468, it states the commissioner has adopted federal motor vehicle safety standards, which is where it states a windshield is required (in the federal law.)

For the purposes of your windshield being a “fold down from the factory,” this is for “off-road use."

Motorcycles may or may not have windshields, but even when they do, they do not meet legal requirements, and a rider must wear eye protection.

Send your questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota to or Sgt. Neil Dickenson – Minnesota State Patrol at 1131 Mesaba Ave., Duluth, MN 55811.

Katie Rohman has served as the managing editor of the Duluth News Tribune since 2019. She started with Duluth Media Group in 2017 as regional editor of the Superior Telegram, Pine Journal, Lake County News-Chronicle, Eastern Observer and Western Weekly. She has worked in newspapers around the Midwest since 2004.
What To Read Next
"If we are unwilling to admit that the racism exists in our power structures, people of color will continue to pay a deadly price."
"Life is short, ends in a moment, and we don’t think much about it some days. ... It’s a scenic highway, and we should keep it that way, go a bit slower, and enjoy life."
"Church worship now competes with everything from professional sports to kids activities to household chores. ... we can either have a frank conversation about what church can be, or we can continue to watch the pews empty in cherished houses of worship across the country."
"In the end, legislators are confronted with twin tasks: discerning and then pursuing the common good, and finding enough common ground with colleagues and the public at large to make progress possible," writes Lee Hamilton.