What You Need To Know About Your Damaged Windshield

A damaged windshield is more than just a cosmetic concern, and you may even be breaking the law if you continue to drive with a broken windshield. If you have a crack or chip in your windshield, check out these three important facts you should know.

It Can Affect Your Safety

Obviously, a damaged front windshield affects your visibility while driving; however, a cracked or chipped windshield affects your safety in another way as well. The windshield isn't just glass. It is crafted from two layers of tempered glass laminated together with a piece of plastic between them. This creates a durable windshield that actually adds structural integrity to your car that can absorb some of the impact from a collision. If the windshield does break, the plastic holds the windshield together, so the pieces don't fly everywhere and cause injury.  

When you develop a crack or a chip in your windshield, it damages that safety plastic between the glass panels. This reduces the windshield's structural integrity. The window is more likely to shatter in an accident, which may cause injury from flying glass or increase the risk of ejection through the windshield. In the event of a roll-over accident, it may cause the roof to collapse. Also, the impact from the passenger seat airbag may cause a damaged windshield to shatter.

You Might Be Breaking the Law

While state laws vary, many prohibit driving your vehicle if it has damage to the windshield and if it affects visibility. For example, in Wisconsin, it's perfectly legal to drive a car with a cracked windshield, but only if the crack is not in the windshield wiper area. If the crack or chip is outside this area, it is not considered a visibility vulnerability, and it is perfectly legal to keep driving without repairs.

Windshield replacement costs about $100 to $400, which may be lower than many people's auto insurance deductible. Therefore, if you need to replace your windshield because your law requires you to do so, you'll likely have to pay for the entire cost out-of-pocket. However, states like Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts and South Carolina are helping drivers pay for these costs. In these states, your deductible is waived for windshield replacement, so even if you can't afford the cost, you can get your windshield replaced

Chips May Be Able to Be Repaired

Just because you have a damaged windshield doesn't mean you have to have it replaced. Some smaller chips and cracks may be able to be repaired. These repairs are performed by injecting a resin into the chip/crack. The resin is hardened and then smoothed to create a flawless finish that returns visibility and structural strength. A repair costs between $10 and $150.

Whether the damage can be repaired depends on a few factors, and two of the most important are size and location. Chips that are about one inch in diameter or cracks that are no longer than three inches long are good candidates for repair, but anything bigger may require total replacement. The location of the damage also matters because repairs (even ones by skilled technicians) may leave behind discoloration or unevenness, which could affect visibility, so if the damage is within the driver's line of sight, replacement may be better.

A windshield isn't just to keep dirt and bugs away from you as you drive. The windshield is extremely important for protecting you in the event of a car accident. A damaged windshield can compromise this safety and makes it difficult to see clearly. If you have a cracked or chipped windshield, you need to get it fixed as soon as possible. Contact a certified repair technician in your area or visit websites like http://www.centralglassutah.com today to get a quote.