When you’re in your vehicle, your safety is the most important thing, period. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the road, in the parking lot, or pulling out of your driveway. When your field of vision is compromised, your safety is threatened. Windshield chipping can be more dangerous than you’d think.
Many of us have been there. Your smooth, shiny glass is smacked by a small object while you’re driving. Suddenly, your windshield is chipped!
Can you pass a vehicle inspection with a chip, crack, or break in your windshield? That all depends. But what matters more is your safety.
The Dangers of Windshield Chips
Think of your windshield as a barrier against the elements or anything that could harm you as you drive. Even a tiny pebble could really injure a driver at freeway speed.
Our modern vehicles are manufactured with safety tempered glass. This is a highly durable glass that keeps you safer in an emergency by crumbling into small pieces instead of large, jagged shards. But glass is still glass: when it breaks, it’s dangerous.
When you ignore a break, it will cost you everything from tickets, to higher repair or replacement costs. It could even jeopardize your life and the lives of your passengers.
Your windshield will no longer:
- Provide structural integrity upon impact. This increases the chance you’ll sustain injuries from an already broken windshield during an accident
- Protect you and your passengers from a collapsed roof. This is highly dangerous in a rollover accident.
- Keep you and your passengers inside the vehicle. A chipped windshield increases the possibility of being ejected in a collision, especially if you’re not wearing a seatbelt.
- Ensure proper airbag deployment. Your airbag system is integrated with your windshield. A cracked windshield can compromise the entire system.
…So have those windshield chips inspected!
Evaluate your windshield damage for the size, position, and growth. Early detection is key. If the crack or pit is less than 6-12” in length, or 1” in diameter, it can be repaired. Otherwise, your windshield will likely have to be replaced.
Here are three things to consider before you go out and drive with a chip in your windshield. Your chip could be a ticketed offense!
The length of the crack or pit makes a difference. North Carolina state law considers a large crater or a long crack in a vehicle’s windshield to be an obstruction. You will be pulled over and ticketed if the officer believes that you cannot see through significant marks in your windshield.
The location of your windshield chip is also a factor. Windshield chips, pitting, and cracks on the passenger side are OK. They will grow, mind you, but you can drive until you get your glass repaired. It’s a completely different story on the driver’s side.
Damage to the driver’s side of the windshield is a red flag on the field. It’s fair game for an officer to pull you over and ticket you for a sight obstruction.
A break in glass will always spread. Just driving your vehicle and exposing your windshield to different temperatures will stretch that crater or lightning strike shape across the pane. This growing weakness affects your entire windshield’s integrity. The elements will begin coming into your vehicle. And if a collision occurs, the entire pane will break.
Awareness of a windshield crack is one thing. What you do about it matters most. If you want to preserve your safety and the safety of others, go get your windshield repaired