Safeguard Your Windshield
A damaged windshield can be dangerous. Take precautions to prevent chips and cracks.
A windshield is more than a window. It provides up to 60 percent of a car’s structural integrity during a crash, helps prevent ejection from a vehicle in a collision, and even allows air bags to deploy correctly. Damage to your windshield can reduce your field of vision and lead to an accident. Help keep yourself, passengers and other travelers safe by protecting your windshield from damage.
Keep your distance. Debris may fall from construction trucks, and other cars can launch pebbles at your windshield. Maintain the recommended three seconds between your car and the vehicle ahead of you.
Keep the windshield clean. Clean your windshield wipers regularly, as sharp particles embedded in the blades can scratch the glass. Learn when to replace your windshield wipers here. It’s also a good idea to maintain a full tank of windshield washer fluid so you can rinse away buildup.
Mind the weather. Changes in weather could affect the integrity of your windshield. Keep an eye out for:
- Dramatic changes in temperature, which can cause windshields to crack. These “stress cracks” can happen if you wash your car with cold water on a hot day, or if you use hot water to defrost the windshield in the winter.
- Air pressure changes, which also can lead to stress cracks. In addition, strong winds can crack windshields or cause a small chip to grow.
- Hail, which can crack or chip a windshield. If possible, avoid driving in severe weather. If you’re caught driving in a hailstorm, slow down and try to seek cover as soon as possible.
When Cracks Happen
Some events are out of your control, and accidents can happen despite taking necessary precautions. Repair windshield cracks or chips immediately. Even the smallest chips can become big problems if they spread. The longer you allow dirt to find its way into the break, the more difficult (and potentially expensive) the repair. Fortunately, glass claims typically don’t count as accidents on your insurance record.
If you can’t get your windshield repaired right away, protect the damage as much as possible. Wait to wash your car, and try to avoid extreme temperature and pressure changes. If the crack doesn’t obscure your vision, you can cover the chip with clear packing tape to reduce debris buildup.