Windshield damages from road debris are common and often cause cracks in the glass. When tiny dings or cracks result, it’s tempting to continue driving and avoid repairing or replacing the glass. Unfortunately, the problem can worsen over time, and even if it doesn’t, minor damages can impact your vehicle’s safety features. The best way to keep your car vehicle as safe as possible is to immediately schedule professional repair or replacement.
Windshield cracks in a driver’s line of sight can hinder driving, especially in poor weather and low light. A crack can reflect sunlight, causing a dangerous glare that gravely dangers vehicle occupants. Diminished visibility increases your risk of being involved in a collision or road pile-up. A damaged windshield is also a constant distraction.
A significant windshield crack that causes spider webbing is dangerous and often means that only laminate is holding the glass together. It can also alter visibility. If you have a significant crack, the best thing to do is pull over and arrange a tow. The next step is finding a windshield replacement professional to install new glass.
Quick replacement is also important because you can be ticketed for driving with a damaged windshield. Each state has its own rules; in some, driving with windshield cracks on the driver’s side is illegal. According to Progressive Insurance, “The federal regulations from the U.S. Department of Transportation — no crack larger than 3/4 inch in diameter, no two cracks within three inches of each other, no intersecting cracks, or cracks directly in the driver’s view — are the minimum standards.”
Compromised Structural Integrity
Windshield glass provides 40% structural strength to your car’s roof, one of its most crucial functions. But, a crack in the glass can weaken it, making it almost impossible for a windshield to perform its life-saving function. If a windshield is weakened through damage, the car’s roof could collapse in a rollover accident, causing severe injuries to passengers.
Risk of Ejection
Per Hill Law Firm, several studies show that safety glass dramatically reduces the risk of ejection when vehicle passengers wear seatbelts during an accident. Lamination in the windshield helps keep the glass in place, providing a barrier to ejection. However, a cracked windshield reduces protection.
The risk of being ejected from a vehicle increases when the windshield is cracked. An occupant can go through safety glass and be injured by a sharp object like a tree branch or antenna. Unfortunately, ejection injuries are usually serious and often fatal. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that approximately 81 percent of occupants ejected from a vehicle on impact died during the accident or shortly after.
Loss of Safety Features
About 80% of late-model vehicles include safety features linked to their windshields. For one thing, the windshield provides a backstop that causes airbags to inflate toward passengers. If your windshield is cracked, airbag deployment force may shatter it, causing a deployment malfunction.
If a windshield is damaged, one or more advanced safety features may not work correctly. Many vehicles include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, and rain sensors connected to the windshield. During professional windshield replacement, technicians recalibrate these advanced features and ensure sensors are working.
It’s crucial to have a vehicle’s damaged windshield repaired or replaced as soon as possible to prevent injuries. A cracked windshield reduces the driver’s visibility, compromises your vehicle’s structural integrity, increases the risk of ejection, and can prevent critical safety features from working.