Driving in Canada can be risky or spectacular—mostly depending on prevailing weather conditions. In winters, for instance, blizzards and hailstorms become a common occurrence, leading to traffic collision accidents. Harsh winds, snowstorms, and extreme weather are also expected, and negatively impact the outer structure of your vehicle, especially the windshield.
But there’s more! Roadside debris, flying rocks and several other factors also contribute to damaging your windshield. This means that cracks and chips can occur even when you’re dealing with moderate weather.
If your vehicle has been in an accident recently that caused the windshield to sustain damage, here are a few things you should know before you take it out on the road again.
Dangers of Driving with Damaged Windshield
While a partially chipped or cracked windshield doesn’t pose a huge threat to the driver and passengers, it’s still important to get it replaced or repaired—depending on the extent of the damage. Let’s take a look at the risks a cracked windshield poses.
Accidents Due to Limited Visibility
Cracks and chips can cause blurred vision and serve as a distraction for the driver. Not to mention, dirt, water and grime can collect inside the crack or above the chipped area, decreasing visibility. Impaired vision can cause an accident as the driver may not be able to see objects such as rocks, small animals or pits on the road.
Less Protection in case of an Accident
The windshield provides structural integrity to a vehicle and acts as a load-bearing element. When a car suffers from a frontend collision, an intact windshield actively transfers the force of the impact towards the chassis—downwards—and away from the driver/passenger. A cracked windshield won’t be able to do that and will instead break on impact.
This also affects the correct deployment of the airbag, which serves to protect the driver and passengers from impression fractures to the skull and facial bones.
While driving around with a small crack or chip on the windshield isn’t an offence in Canada, drivers may be fined anywhere between $50 to hundreds of dollars—depending on the city and local laws—if the crack/chip affects the driver’s field of vision.
Ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away. This is especially true in the case of a damaged windshield. The crack may not be harming anyone for now, but your problems will grow significantly worse if you come across one of these situations:
- Your windshield is hit by a rock or roadside debris
- Something falls on the cracks—an animal, etc.—and the pressure increases the size of the crack
- Heavy vibrations due to slammed doors or bumps in the road cause the windshield to lose integrity
- Moisture accumulates in the crack and weakens the whole structure over time when it spreads
When Should I Not Ignore Cracks?
There are a few situations where you can’t ignore even the smallest problem without putting yourself and everyone around you—inside and outside the car—at risk.
Canada is currently experiencing magnificent summers, but winters can be unpleasant, to say the least. Freezing temperatures can make cracks bigger or shatter the windshield altogether. When you turn on the heating system, the fluctuation in temperature causes the glass to expand and contract, directly affecting the size of the crack.
Windshields are usually made of sturdy materials, so they’re able to withstand harsh temperatures only if they’re free of fractures.
Affected Line of Sight
To drive safely, the driver needs clear visibility, which can be impacted by even a minor chip on the windscreen. A crack or chip that’s located on the passenger’s side shouldn’t be an issue, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the driver’s line of sight. However, to limit the problem, our professional recommendation is to take your vehicle to the nearest repair and replacement service as soon as possible.
You should keep in mind that even when the crack is significantly long, repairs are still an option—given that it’s only superficial. Ignoring it will only cause you more headache and cost more money—as it spreads further and deep. There’d be no other choice but to replace it at much higher costs at some point.
Make sure to consult your insurance company before you make any repair/replacement decisions.
Windshield glass is laminated, meaning it’s made of a double layer of glass that sandwiches a thin plastic film. This gives windshields unusual strength, unlike other glass materials. But no matter how durable, glass is still an inherently fragile entity and sustains damage on pressure and impact. The lamination allows the glass to stay in place even when it is shattered, preventing it from collapsing on the inside. The safety film between the layers stops the formation of shards, which is why you usually see damaged windshields in one part—but broken in small pieces.
Strong adhesives are used in the installation of the windshield, which keeps it from separating from the frame and also prevents seepage and noise inflow.
Solutions for Cracked Windshield
To practice safe driving and limit the possibility of getting into legal troubles, cracks and chips should be immediately fixed. If you’re unable to find emergency or mobile repair services, follow these steps to limit the damage.
- Clean the damaged area and cover it with a transparent tape
- Don’t turn on the defrost immediately in cold temperature
- Close the doors gently and drive slowly over speed bumps
- Don’t over-speed
- Avoid going out in a hailstorm or during heavy winds
- As soon as you’re able to find the time, take your vehicle to a professional repair service
Where Do I Find Repair Company in British Columbia?
Residents of Langley, Maple Ridge and British Columbia can bring their cars to us at Gateway Blvd, Edmonton for detailed inspection and repair. If you’ve suffered a chip from a rock and need emergency repairs, give us a call at 310-4527 and our mobile repair team will be at your location within no time.
Want to know more details before visiting us? Check our services or get a quote to understand the costs involved. If you’ve everything figured out then all you need to do is book an appointment and let the trained specialists at Crystal Glass take care of everything.