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We all have endured various mishaps and accidents while driving to our various destinations, but too many of us have driven past the point of no return. After a rock strikes your windshield and gives you that obnoxious little chip or crack, you might think to yourself, “Hey, I can put this off for now.”  

It’s a minor annoyance, a small inconvenience with a hefty price tag.

The truth of the matter is, a chip or a crack in your windshield is more than a minor inconvenience, and you should think twice before putting off that fix. Driving around with a broken windshield is a hazard, one that you have to constantly look at (or choose to ignore). Cracks, dents, and chips can worsen over time, and in some cases, they can cause major accidents.

1. Cracks And Chips Obstruct Vision

After a rock hits your window and you don’t notice immediate damage, you might shrug it off. You drive for a while and ignore it’s a chip. Then it’s a crack. Pretty soon that crack is as long as your forearm, but you keep driving. It’s only after driving for a while that you realize you’ve become used to that crack, that you’re looking through it or past it, that you're making concessions for your vision. This is a problem, as it means you are operating your vehicle under less than ideal conditions.

Cracks and chips can be a detriment to your driving. Vehicle windshields are specially crafted, made of laminated flat glass with an acrylic layer, and you don’t really know how that chip or crack has compromised the windshield or your driving ability. Driving with even a small chip could spell disaster down the road, a disaster you might not recognize until it’s too late. Rock chips that get filled are still visible but not considered hazardous to drive with. The average insurance company will allow up to three repairs in the visible area. Driving with any small unrepaired chips is dangerous, and can spread suddenly into a crack. Cracked windshields are considered a danger for rollover, and your intact windshield will protect you in case of an accident.

2. Heat And Cold Exacerbate The Problem

As we change seasons, so too does your vehicle. Your car, like any manufactured machine, fluctuates with the heat and cold. Your tires need additional inflation in the winter, and your engine needs specified oil in the summer (depending on your vehicle). Extreme heat and extreme cold affect a variety of things within your vehicle, and that holds true for your windshield. 

Sudden changes in temperature (especially when coupled with inclement weather or moisture) can make the glass expand or retract. Warm water on a cold windshield can cause it to shatter entirely, and if you have a miniscule chip or crack you are almost guaranteed to face a broken pane of glass. 

Particularly hot climates can create sudden temperature changes, such as a very hot day becoming a very cold night. This rapid expansion and retraction of the glass means you could very well wake up and find a cracked windshield and think it was caused by a burglar. Ignoring the damage to your windshield when you live in a place of extreme heat or extreme cold is never a good idea, but you might be surprised to find that the rapid changes in temperature now experienced globally will do lasting damage to your windshield and weaken it, making the next freeway rock do much worse than leave a simple chip. 

PartsAvatar knows how important it is to make certain every component of your vehicle is prepared for each season and encourages upkeep all year long.

3. Time Worsens All Cracks

What might be a meager crack today will be an unrepairable issue tomorrow.

Putting off any automotive repair issue comes with its hidden costs, but holding out on windshield repair can drastically worsen whatever the problem is, turning a small crack or chip into a costly repair, possibly even demanding the entire windshield be replaced.

Most windshield repair shops will charge extra for any crack, and cracks that have spread beyond four inches will typically be unrepairable and you will need a new windshield installed. Since these hairline fractures can go unnoticed by the driver, your small crack might be much worse than you think. Cracks worsen and develop rapidly, especially when you drive on rough roads, so consider taking your vehicle in as soon as possible.

4. Facing A Car Accident With A Cracked Windshield Is Dangerous

While your windshield is built to last, its strength is predicated on its completeness. Windshields are delicate and need to be taken care of. Your windshield has been crafted for driving, curated to fit the exact body of your vehicle and protect you in the case of an accident.

When your windshield is compromised, various things can occur. The glass could curl inward instead of exploding outward, spraying you with glass in a rollover or collision. Since small cracks and chips can cause fractures that compromise the integrity of the glass, you won’t know until the accident happens if the windshield will hold. There is nothing scarier than being covered in fragmented glass after an accident, especially if it’s a minor one and the windshield simply failed to protect you.

Since shattered glass can hurt the driver and passengers both, it’s important to make sure that your windshield is in proper working order at all times.

5. You Could Get A Ticket

While uncommon, don’t give police officers an excuse to pull you over while you’re going about your daily business. Cracks are dangerous, and a law enforcement officer can give you an expensive citation that will frustrate the situation further. While some states offer a grace period to get the windshield fixed, you will still have to take time to go to the courthouse and prove that you spent the money and made the repair.

Don’t Put Off That Fix

Regardless of how you view yourself as a driver, no one should put off cracks or chips in their windshields for long. It’s dangerous, compromising both the vehicle and its passengers. The pros at GlassMasters know about affordable windshield repair, offering quality repairs that set you up for life. If your windshield has a crack or chip and you’re worried about it worsening, get it checked out sooner rather than later.

About the Author: 

Kathryn Fowler

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Kathryn Fowler is the Marketing Manager at PartsAvatar. She's been passionate about cars since childhood. She loves examining different components of cars to understand their operation. Kathryn started writing blogs on automobile parts to share her love for cars and educate automobile enthusiasts worldwide.