A chipped, cracked or damaged windscreen can mean much more than a simple eyesore. Though issues with your windscreen might seem less pressing than a mechanical fault in your car; windscreen damage can be extremely hazardous to you, the occupants of your car and your fellow road users.
Driving with a damaged windscreen
We repair first, if possible
Although we always first try to repair any damage to your windscreen, sometimes the size, location and nature of the damage will mean that the whole windscreen will need to be replaced.
Damaged Windscreen Risks
Even minor damage can dramatically affect your windscreen’s structural integrity. This not only makes your windscreen more susceptible to shattering when hit by flying road debris or cracking over time, but can put the lives of you and the occupants of your car at grave risk.
In a collision an airbag deploys in 35 milliseconds. To put this speed into perspective, it takes approximately 200 milliseconds to blink your eye. Front airbags rely on the rigidity of your windscreen, to inflate outwards and provide the maximum amount of protection. If a windscreen is damaged or poorly bonded, the force exerted as the airbag deploys can shatter or completely detach the windscreen, causing the airbag to inflate in the wrong direction, and provide no protection to the driver and front passenger.
As cars get lighter and pillars get thinner, greater reliance has been placed on windscreens to provide occupant protection in rollover accidents. Research has shown that in these situations, the displacement of the roof towards the occupants of the car can be increased by up to 30%, if a windscreen is damaged or poorly bonded.
It goes without saying that you and your passengers should wear your seat belts at all times. However, in the event of a collision, your windscreen also serves as a barrier to protect you and your passengers from being ejected from the car. If your windscreen has even a minor crack, this means it is fundamentally weaker than it needs to be and may not be able to withstand the force of a body being hurled against it.
Torsion and Structural Stiffness
Your windscreen also plays a pivotal role in the handling characteristics of your car, as modern windscreens provide up to 34% of the torsional stiffness. In a similar vein, your windscreen serves as a means to dissipate impact and spread the force of a collision throughout your chassis. If the windscreen is damaged, this benefit is lost.
Aside from the dangers outlined above, a cracked windscreen can also grossly compromise visibility. Though a windscreen crack might appear small, it can quickly spread and drastically obstruct your view from the vehicle. Cracks cannot be repaired unfortunately and a windscreen replacement is the only means to deal with them. If you notice a crack, for the safety of you and other road users, it is essential to get it looked at ASAP by PG Glass, the professionals.
It’s important for drivers to be aware of the safety issues associated with a damaged windscreen
Even minor windscreen damage shouldn’t be taken lightly and should be dealt with as soon as it appears. A little issue can quickly snowball, especially when your windscreen is exposed to more extreme conditions.