You might think of a cracked or chipped windshield as a minor inconvenience or a cosmetic issue. The truth is, any damage to your windshield can become a serious safety hazard. Not only are chips and cracks unattractive, but they can also cause impediment of your vision, or they could get worse over time. While some cracks and chips are normal and are OK to ignore, others require immediate attention.
Damaged Windshield Dangers
There are some serious dangers involved when you drive with a cracked or chipped windshield. The actual structural integrity of your car could even be at risk. If you get into an accident, a damaged windshield could completely eject from the car, causing even more damage or injury to yourself and others. The windshield provides structural support for the vehicle and keeps your occupants safe. And since windshields are naturally fragile objects, they’re likely to completely smash if your vehicle undergoes any kind of impact. It’s also quite difficult to see clearly through a cracked or chipped windshield. If the damage is right in your line of sight, you’re going to have a very hard time seeing other vehicles on the road. Even though most new windshields are made of safety glass, the windshield can still be compromised after it deals with a chip or cracks.
The Size and Location of Cracks and Chips
In some parts of the country, it may be illegal to drive your vehicle if you have a crack or chip in your windshield. The vehicle will not likely pass a state inspection since the damage could reduce your visibility. This is a major cause of many accidents, so the inspector will likely fail your car until you get the damage fixed. This can depend on the size of the damage, but it’s still something to consider. The location of the crack or chip can also affect your safety. For example, small damage on the passenger side isn’t as concerning as damage on the driver’s side.
Growing Cracks in the Windshield
In harsh climates, the crack in your windshield may grow over time as the glass expands and contracts. The chip or crack is a weak point in your windshield that can easily grow whenever the glass flexes, making the issue much more dangerous as time goes on. Small chips or tiny cracks can be repaired by an auto glass repair specialist or you can buy a kit to try and make the repair yourself. However, if the damage is large, you’ll likely need a full windshield replacement. You should have any damage assessed before your next inspection just to be on the safe side.