Some drivers choose to put off auto repairs as long as their car can still get them from point A to point B. Unfortunately, a cracked or chipped windshield is one case where this strategy won't pay off. This guide will explain four risks of postponing windshield repair.
1. Reduced Visibility Behind the Wheel
Anything that creates a distraction for the driver is a hazard on the road, and windshield cracks are no exception. The size and location of windshield damage dictates whether it is safe to get behind the wheel. While small cracks near the edge of the windshield may not cause a distraction, a chip or large crack in front of the driver's seat can easily impede your view.
Windshield cracks and chips can further reduce visibility by allowing dirt, dust, and moisture to penetrate the windshield. If the damage is deep enough to expose the laminate layer between the glass panes of your windshield, contaminants can seep in and stick to the lamination. This may cause your windshield to fog up as trapped moisture begins to evaporate.
2. Less Protection During an Accident
Early windshields were thin panes of glass that had virtually no load-bearing capacity, but windshields have evolved since then. Modern windshields play a key role in the structure of a vehicle. When your windshield is cracked or chipped, a roof cave-in is more likely during a roll-over accident. In a front-end collision, there is a greater risk of ejection with a damaged windshield.
Your windshield also helps to protect you in the event of a collision by providing a solid backing for the airbag. A weakened windshield can shatter when the airbag deploys, and the airbag will no longer have a solid backing to cushion passengers against the impact.
3. Greater Risk of Being Pulled Over
These examples show why a damaged windshield is a safety issue, but many drivers aren't aware that it can become a legal issue as well. Many states have established laws that prohibit drivers from driving with windshield damage that obscures their view. This is in line with other windshield safety laws that require functional wipers and safety glaze on the windshield.
Even if the damage to your windshield isn't preventing you from seeing clearly, a police officer may not be able to tell for certain when they pass you on the road. Any significant windshield damage may be reason enough for a traffic stop so that the officer can confirm that you are driving safely. Repairing your windshield promptly will help you avoid this unexpected interruption in your day.
4. Damage May Worsen Over Time
Like most problems, windshield cracks and chips have a tendency to get worse the longer they are neglected. This is true whether you leave your car unattended or continue to drive it every day because windshields are so sensitive to their surrounding environment. The windshield on a parked car will still expand and contract in response to temperature changes, and it will also be susceptible to weather effects such as precipitation.
Driving your vehicle with a damaged windshield worsens the problem due to forces like vibration and wind resistance. Repairing a small crack now can save you the expense of a full windshield replacement when the crack spreads. Even with modern auto glass repair techniques, windshield replacement is almost always required for cracks over 18 inches in length.
Windshield repair is an invaluable service that can get you back on the road quickly and safely. Visit a local auto glass repair shop if your windshield is cracked or chipped. Their work can help you avoid the consequences of delaying repairs.