Why You Shouldn’t Drive With A Chipped Or Cracked Windshield
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Why You Shouldn’t Drive With A Chipped Or Cracked Windshield

Why Replacing A Cracked Windshield Is Important

Cracked or chipped windshields are often only viewed as minor cosmetic damage, like a small dent, but damage to your windshield should not be ignored. Not only is a chipped or cracked windshield an unpleasant blemish on your vehicle, it can actually be a serious safety concern.

Vehicles are prone to many problems, some of which are more superficial than others. A small dent, for example, is significantly less important than a bent rim or blown head gasket.

Naturally, some issues are much more likely to be ignored than others, even when they are issues that shouldn’t be ignored.

One of the most common forms of damage that goes uncorrected when it shouldn’t is damage to the windshield.


Why Is A Damaged Windshield Dangerous?

Continuing to drive your vehicle with a damaged windshield is known to put the lives of those in your vehicle, as well as those around you, at greater risk.

Believe it or not, there are serious dangers involved with driving with a chipped or cracked windshield. Not only are you more susceptible to being involved in a motor vehicle accident, but the structural integrity of your vehicle may also be compromised.

Damaged windshields, or a windshield that has been improperly installed, can actually eject during a collision, causing multiple safety concerns.

Furthermore, windshields are designed to provide structural support for your vehicle and protect the occupants. A damaged windshield may result in the premature collapse of your roof or a-pillars during a collision or rollover.

Most people only think of their windshield as there to block rain, wind, sleet, and snow while allowing you to maintain visibility. But as mentioned above, there is much more to it.

Unfortunately, being made of glass, windshields are inherently fragile, even with today’s technological advances in tempered safety glass. As such, a single rock may be all it takes to chip or crack your windshield.

Today’s standard windshields are produced using two transparent pieces of glass that are glued to a central vinyl resin. This vinyl resin acts to keep the glass in place during a collision or impact and is designed to prevent pieces of glass from becoming dislodged and causing injury.

Unfortunately, once this safety layer has been compromised with a crack or chip, the windshield is no longer able to withstand an impact and may not be able to properly protect the occupants of the vehicle.

When considering the repair or replacement of your windshield, there are a few things to consider:


The Size Of The Chip Or Crack

Did you know that depending on the size of the crack or chip it might actually be illegal to be driving your vehicle? It’s true, and it might be upsetting, but it’s for good reason.

Damaged windshields reduce visibility. And of course, reduced visibility, whether due to rain, fog, darkness, or damage is the leading factor in motor vehicle accidents.

Cracks and chips often create a focused glare that can make seeing through the glass difficult, even on a well-lit road. This can create unsafe driving conditions even when all other conditions are optimal.


The Position Of The Crack Or Chip

The position of the damage can also obviously play a large role in determining how safe your vehicle is to continue driving. A small chip on the passenger side is of significantly less concern than a large crack on the driver’s side.

Keep in mind that if the damage interferes with the drivers view out of the vehicle in any way it is most likely illegal and can result in a heavy fine. Depending on your vehicle, replacing the windshield will most likely be less costly than the fine.


Are You Faced With A Growing Crack

One of the most common issues with windshield cracks, particularly in our harsh climate, is that they tend to grow.

As the outside temperature fluctuates, and the interior vents force air onto the windshield, the glass naturally expands and contracts.

Chips and cracks are weak points in your windshield, so they tend to grow when the glass flexes.

Obviously, as the damage expands, it becomes more dangerous.

Many smaller cracks and chips are repairable by an auto body glass specialist. But, when the crack or chip becomes too large, or it grows larger than the length or width of a credit card, you will most likely need to have the entire windshield replaced.

We recommend having any damage to your windshield inspected by an experienced auto body specialist immediately, and replacing your windshield if there is any significant damage.


Repair Replace?

As we mentioned above, in some instances you can repair a chip or crack. Usually, if a crack is less than 6 to 12 inches long, it can be safely repaired. And if a chip is less than an inch, it can be safely repaired.

Any significant damage will require that the entire windshield be replaced.

Our advice is to always have your windshield inspected, even if the crack or chip is small. And if you see any growth, have it replaced immediately as the integrity of your windshield has definitely been compromised.


Southern Auto Body Has Your Safety In Mind

Driving with a damaged windshield can transform even the most cautious drive into a traffic hazard. That is why Southern Auto Body always recommends having your windshield inspected and/or replaced immediately.

Taking your vehicle to an auto glass specialist is always recommended, and we would never suggest trying to carry our repairs or replacement yourself.

Windshields are a created with specialized materials, designed to be as clear as ordinary glass, but with anti-shatter properties to keep you safe. Compromising the materials or the overall design can have serious safety implications.

Furthermore, Windshields support the A-pillar and roof, providing additional support and safety for all passengers. Never try to cut costs, or skip corners during the replacement process.

If a windshield is installed incorrectly, it could eject during a collision or impact and cause those in the vehicle, other vehicles, or bystanders to be placed in further danger.

It may seem simple, and often the replacement process can actually be quite fast, but you want to find experts who have the right experience and tools to complete the job properly, ensuring your safety.

Remember, Southern Auto Body is here for all your automotive needs. If you have any questions, concerns, or would like to book an appointment, contact us today!

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