It happens all too often. While making their way to work, heading out to do errands, or just off to grab a nice dinner, drivers hear that unmistakable ping. A few furtive glances confirm it - a rock has just chipped the car's windshield.
While a rock chip in the car's windshield may seem like just a minor annoyance, drivers who choose to let this damage go unrepaired may actually be endangering the safety of everyone in their car from that point forward. If you are wondering how this seemingly minor damage can carry so much risk, here is what you need to know to stay safe in the car.
The visibility issue
One of the problems with a tiny rock chip is that it won't always be just a small imperfection. Instead, cracks often form quickly, shooting out inches or even feet from the original area of the rock chip. Even when drivers are careful, major cracks can quickly form from pressure, from wind or rain, changes in temperature, or even normal vibrations when the car hits a pothole or travels over a stretch of rough road. Even a small crack in the driver's field of vision can be enough to cause poor visibility and increase the potential of having a traffic accident
The structural issue
Rock chips can also be a structural damage issue. Unlike the larger, heavier cars of yesteryear, modern cars are designed to meet fuel efficiency standards. In order to do this, automakers must use lighter-weight metals and composite materials. Since they still must also meet rigorous safety standards, they are forced to use integral designs that rely on the strength of all the car's parts, including the windshield to protect the passenger compartment and the people inside.
When rock chips or cracks weaken a windshield, it is much more likely to fail to withstand force and may either become dislodged or break during a crash or rollover accident. Occupants of the passenger compartment are then at much greater risk of being thrown from the vehicle than they otherwise might be.
Additionally, vehicle front airbag systems are designed to thrust against the windshield as part of their inflation response during a crash scenario. When the windshield has been previously damaged, it may be unable to withstand this force, increasing the likelihood that it will contribute to the improper inflation of the airbags and result in greater injuries for the driver and front seat passengers.
The time issue
There is good news, too. Improved installation methods and replacement options mean that windshield repair and replacement in most any vehicle is fast and convenient. This is especially true when drivers choose to utilize a reputable mobile windshield repair service. These services can come to your home or work location and efficiently make rock chip repairs or even replace the entire windshield during just one short visit.
For more information, contact your local windshield replacement services.