Too many vehicles may be operating unsafely due to a simple repair problem that can be quickly addressed. If you are wondering what type of problem is being referred to, you may be surprised to find that the answer has nothing to do with the mechanical parts of the car. Instead, vehicles with cracked or broken windshields often continue to be driven for weeks or months after the damage has been noted, despite the heightened risk of injury to the driver and occupants of the vehicle that may result.
If you or a driver in your household is currently operating a vehicle with existing windshield damage, the following information can help you understand the dangers and provide other helpful information you may need.
1. The increased risk of structural instability
Drivers may not realize just how much the windshield of their vehicle does to keep them safe. For instance, many drivers may not realize that the windshield in most recently manufactured vehicles is part of the overall structural design. When the integrity of a windshield is compromised by the development of a crack, rock chip, or hole, a weak point is created that could create a heightened risk of injury to occupants of the vehicle during a crash situation.
An intact windshield that is kept in good repair is designed to withstand the force of impact during a crash, as well as provide a stable surface for airbag deployment. If the windshield is damaged, it is more likely to break apart or fall out during an impact situation. When this happens, airbags may be unable to deploy fully and passengers and drivers may be more likely to be injured or ejected from the vehicle.
2. The increased risk of more serious damage
Another problem that exists from driving a vehicle with windshield damage is that the damage will continue to increase. Rock chips and small cracks that can be easily and inexpensively fixed when they first occur will continue to expand as the car is driven.
Vibrations from uneven road surfaces, braking to a stop too suddenly, and minor impacts with objects can create conditions for rock chips and small cracks to worsen. Even the pressure from wind or heavy rain and the thermal effect of sudden temperature changes caused by the defrosters or harsh weather can result in worsened glass damage that will make repairs difficult or impossible.
Driving around with windshield damage is not necessary, especially when many car insurance providers offer free repair coverage for rock chips and small cracks. To learn more about keeping your car's windshield in good repair so that you and your occupants are safer, contact an auto glass replacement service in your area.