How Dangerous is a Cracked Windshield?
When a car's windshield is cracked, it may seem like a trivial problem. Many people can't even tell there is a crack in the windshield unless they look closely or see it by light reflected off the crack. It may not seem to affect how well you can see while driving, but safety experts warn that a windshield could be dangerous for several reasons.
Why Cracked Windshields are Dangerous: What Experts Say
Windshield cracks can appear from nowhere and widen as time goes on. As seen from inside the car where the driver sits, cracking begins from an outside force such as small stones kicked up by passing vehicles or season road debris brought by cold weather and strong winds. Once a stone hits the glass windshield, it causes a small chip to form depending on the size of the rock. If not taken care of soon, this crack can spread and widen as time goes by.
In addition to cracks from outside forces, age is another reason why windshields become damaged or cracked. As car glass ages over time, it becomes less flexible and much more susceptible to sun damage which accelerates the deterioration process.
A Car Windshield Replacement could be Necessary at any given Time: What Experts Say Despite what many people believe about windshield cracks being harmless, safety experts say that even a small crack could affect the structural integrity of the glass in ways that may make it unsafe to drive with. In fact, if your windshield is damaged during an accident, you might be looking at a large expense to replace it.
Edmunds.com says that "even small cracks on your windshield can weaken the windshield's integrity." The smallest cracks could affect how well your A/C works or stop you from seeing clearly during inclement weather. If something strikes the glass hard enough, even a minor crack could shatter into many pieces which may cause injury to occupants inside the vehicle. It also reduces the structural strength of the glass which may eventually lead to more damage in case of an accident. A windshield replacement is needed once any damage occurs because drivers need proper visibility while behind the wheel for their own safety and others around them on the road.
The Short Term vs-Term Effects of Driving with a Cracked Windshield
Driving with a cracked windshield may seem harmless, but safety experts warn there are several implications of driving in this condition. According to Carcomplaints.com, driving with a cracked windshield could be very dangerous because it reduces the structural integrity of the glass which causes shards to fly off in case of an accident or sharp blows from rocks or other objects hitting the car on the road.
The risk for injury is always present when you're behind the wheel, especially when cracks are located within your direct line of sight while driving. Driving with a damaged windshield endangers not only you but also passengers and motorists around you during inclement weather conditions or at night when visibility is reduced because headlights back towards your eyes. The reduced visibility could make it harder for you to see the road or any oncoming vehicles.
However, driving with a cracked windshield may not always be as serious as it seems because your field of vision is never completely obstructed by the damage. Despite some visions being restricted due to cracks on either end of your windshield, most safety experts say that driving with a crack in front of you does not affect how well you can drive on average. A few people even claim they are able to drive at normal speeds without experiencing symptoms such as severe dizziness or disorientation which suggests how minor this problem may be compared to other issues related to vehicle maintenance and usage.
How to Tell When You Need a Windshield Replacement
If you notice any cracks, chips, splits or an abnormal bubbling on your windshield or at any part of your car doors or windows that does not go away after applying water and baking soda solution, contact a qualified technician as soon as possible because this indicates how extensive the damage might be under your vehicle's glass exterior. For most vehicles, manufacturers recommend replacing their windshield every five years even if there are no visible signs of wear and tear.
There are several ways automobile manufacturers determine how long it takes for a windshield to need replacement. For most car models, the glass of their windshield has an "expiration date" that tells you how many years your vehicle is approved for on the road along with its other parts. As soon as this date passes, the manufacturer no longer recommends using the vehicle on public roads because it could cause more damage to other parts if driven further without fixing or replacing worn-out components first. Also, some automobile insurance companies might not cover damages caused by driving a poorly maintained vehicle after they have determined its condition can be hazardous to passengers' safety.