Shattering windscreen neglect

It is one of the features that protects drivers the most in the car. It is a standard part of every car and if you did not have it you would be acutely aware of it: this is the invaluable windscreen. Yet, drivers will often neglect to fix cracks and chips even though a windscreen is vital to your safety.

The CEO of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says many drivers may postpone repairs until they have more time or because of financial concerns. “The amount of danger this actually places drivers in is considerable. At the most basic level, cracks and chips can impede vision. It can reduce visibility and make it difficult to clearly see oncoming traffic and obstacles.

“Even small chips or scratches can create glare from sunlight or create a halo affect from oncoming vehicles. If your windscreen is hit by a flying object it can also shatter once you are driving causing injury to yourself and other occupants.”

On a more serious note, the windscreen actually contributes to the structural integrity of the vehicle. “A windscreen provides 34% of a vehicle’s torsional stiffness and dissipates the force in a crash. In an accident, the roof of the vehicle can cave in up to 30% more if you have an improperly installed windscreen or one that is damaged.

“Additionally, as vehicles become lighter for various reasons, it also increases the importance of having an undamaged and correctly installed windscreen. They also play a role in reducing the possibility of passengers being ejected from a vehicle in a crash. It plays a role in ensuring airbags deployed correctly in a crash as well.”

The solution to this is quite simply to ensure you never neglect a chip or a crack. “Additionally, the sooner you attend to chips and minor cracks the more chance there is that the cost of the repair will be much lower as it can be fixed as opposed to replacing the entire windscreen.

“It is also important to ensure that you go to a reputable windscreen fitment centre. Correct installation is essential for the windscreen to have the required structural strength and, consequently, protection should the worst happen. This is not one place that shortcuts can be taken.”

Delaying a crap crack or chip until later whether this is due to time constraints or financial concerns can ultimately cost you much more in the long run. “If you are driving with a damaged windscreen today, make sure it's fixed by tomorrow,” says Herbert.