That chip in your windshield might not look like much—it may even be less than the size of a quarter. So, you may be tempted to keep driving as if nothing is wrong. But driving with a chipped or cracked windshield can be dangerous. Your windshield is much more than just a big glass window—it’s a crucial part of your car’s structural integrity and safety components.
Compromised Vehicle Structural Integrity
The windshield is highly important to the structural integrity of a vehicle’s cabin. For example, during a front-end collision the windshield provides up to 45% of the cabin’s structural integrity. During a rollover accident that statistic goes up to 60%. To benefit from this fundamental support, your windshield must be installed correctly and be free of damage.
Damaged Safety Glass
Standard windshields are composed of two sheets of glass that are bonded together with vinyl resin, appropriately named safety glass. The resin is designed to help keep people safe in the event of a collision. Though windshield glass may crack and break, the resin prevents the glass from flying through the air. Furthermore, safety glass is designed to keep passengers inside the vehicle who aren’t wearing seat belts, safer in case of a crash. If the safety glass is damaged, it greatly increases the possibility that passengers who aren’t buckled up will go through the front windshield during a front-end collision.
Unsuccessful Passenger Airbag Deployment
The windshield is also a vital part of successful airbag deployment on the passenger side of a vehicle. Airbags are designed to bounce against the windshield, and then cushion the front-seat passenger against impact. However, an airbag’s force can shatter a chipped or cracked windshield. A damaged windshield can also cause an airbag to inflate through the compromised windshield instead of protecting the passenger during an accident.
The most common danger of driving with a cracked windshield is a decreased field of vision. During daytime driving, the driver’s vision can be reduced if a crack lines up with their line of sight. During nighttime driving, it can be even worse. Broken glass can create prisms that, when hit by headlights or streetlights, can temporarily blind the driver, and cause an accident. It can even affect drivers in another car if the reflection from prism-distorted light bounces into their fields of vision too.
Replacing a Cracked Windshield
Repairing a chipped windshield as quickly as possible is the best way to prevent any secondary damage to the vehicle. Since the windshield is an important part of a car’s or truck’s structural integrity, having it fixed correctly by knowledgeable professionals is important. Depending on the size of the damage, it might be a small fix using a special resin or you might need the entire windshield replaced.
When you make an appointment with glass professionals like Glass Doctor, they get the job done fast, whether the problem is a chip, a crack, or an entirely shattered windshield. They’ll provide you with an estimate and a promise that your windshield will be properly repaired or replaced—putting you and your family safely on the road again.