While you may not think about it as you’re driving down the highway on the way to work every morning, you’re windshield is constantly at risk. Anytime you’re driving down the road, the car in front of you could kick a rock right up into your windshield and don’t even think about the everyday wear and tear that damages your windshield! Just think about the windshield pitting that sand, dust, and other debris that corrode and stick to your windshield. You can read more about windshield pitting here.
Just last month, a Burleigh County Deputy Sheriff’s vehicle was struck by a mattress. As the sheriff, Justin Hoag, drove down the road, another man driving a pickup truck with a trailer attached was driving down the opposite side of the road. As he passed the sheriff, the mattress in his trailer came loose and the wind kicked it up in the air and it soared until it collided with the deputy’s windshield.
The scariest part? Nothing could have prevented this scenario, on the deputy’s part. And anytime you’re out on the road, you’re putting a lot of trust in the driver’s around you.
We hope you never are, but tomorrow you could be the unlucky person behind someone who doesn’t know how to properly load up and secure their vehicle. And there’s nothing you can do about it.
The best thing you can do is be vigilant while you’re driving around town.
Don’t ride too closely behind anyone with something strapped to their car’s roof or a full truck bed or trailer. The more space you leave between you and the potential hazard, the more time you give yourself to respond to any changes in their load.
Also, maintain a safe speed on all roads. Anytime a rock or other items hit your windshield, the damage depends on two things: how fast you’re going and how fast the item is moving. If you’re driving a safe speed, a kicked up rock may not crack your windshield as badly as if you were speeding.
Immediately fix any windshield damage to your vehicle.
If you find yourself with a crack or chipped windshield, fix it immediately! The longer you wait, the worse the damage can get. It’s illegal to drive a vehicle with windshield damage over the driver side, obstructing a driver’s line of sight. Driving with a broken windshield can obstruct a driver’s vision because they can have a delay as their eyes re-adjust after stray lights created through the cracks and pitting in a windshield blind them.
You also risk injury when driving with a cracked windshield. Your windshield isn’t there just to protect you from debris in the air, it’s a significant safety feature. When your car flips, do you know what keeps you from getting crushed? Your windshield. Now if your windshield has a crack in it, it loses strength and you may not be able to depend on it to save you in a crash where your car rolls over.