If you notice a crack in your windshield, then you may understand that the damage should be looked at. What you may not understand is that the damaged windshield should be replaced as soon as possible to ensure your safety and security. Keep reading to understand why windshield replacement is imperative.
The Windshield Keeps You Safe During An Accident
While a piece of glass may not seem as though it can actually provide your car with security, this is actually true of an automotive windshield. Windshields have several different functions. They protect the driver from wind, rain, and debris, and they also help to maintain an aerodynamic surface for the outside air to cascade off from. The windshield also has a UV protective coating that reflects the harmful sun rays.
The most important function of the windshield is to keep all occupants safe during an accident. Windshields are made out of laminated safety glass. This glass is a bit thicker than a normal pane of glass in your home mainly because it consists of two panes. In the middle of the glass sits a piece of laminate. The complete windshield ends up to be about four millimeters thick. When an object hits the glass, the laminate keeps the windshield intact so it does not shatter. This is common when a minor accident occurs that breaks one part of the windshield. The windshield may shatter under a great deal of stress, but the glass retains the shock from the impact.
If the glass is already cracked, then it will not have the same structural integrity and strength as a complete or undamaged windshield. This may mean that the windshield can shatter much more easily or crack into a spiderweb pattern after a minor incident.
Not only does the windshield retain a solid structure after an accident, but it actively keeps the roof of the vehicle from caving in during a rollover. In fact, both the front and rear windshields help to keep the roof upright and elevated above the car, so it is wise to seek out a replacement for both the front and rear windshield if you note a crack.
The Glass Supports The Driver Air Bag
Most cars are equipped with numerous airbags to keep passengers alive during a major accident. Some cars have as many as 10 airbags, and the main one comes directly out of the middle section of the steering wheel. When you get into an accident or start to hit something, a computer chip in your car detects that your vehicle has suddenly started to decelerate. When the deceleration is considered abnormal or greater than what happens normally when you step on the brakes, then the airbag inflates.
On inflation, a large amount of gas is created within the airbag and it fills up quickly. The airbag moves towards you and also towards the dash and your windshield. The windshield and the dash help to support the bag and also move it towards your head to cushion the impact of the crash.
If your windshield is already cracked, then a few different things happen when the airbag inflates. The airbag may place too much force against the windshield and cause it to break apart when it normally should not. This can leave the area open for flying debris to come into your car. Also, if the airbag does not have the solid support it needs from the windshield, then the gas in the bag will not provide a good enough cushion for your head. This can result in your face hitting the steering wheel harder than it should, and this can cause a concussion or another serious injury.