A chipped and scratched windshield can wreak havoc on your ability to see clearly while driving, especially when the sun is low on the horizon and the light illuminates every imperfection in the glass. Even more bothersome are chips that have the potential to develop into windshield cracks. While many chips appear harmless at first, exposure to temperature changes and road vibrations can cause them to expand into actual cracks in the glass.
Windshield cracks are serious, not only because they can obstruct your vision, but also because of the structural role a windshield plays in an automobile’s design. The CAA has been at the forefront of explaining to its members and other drivers that in the event of a rollover, a vehicle’s windshield offers important support for the roof and A-pillars to prevent passengers from being crushed. A windshield is composed of two sheets of safety glass held together by a transparent, laminated center membrane that helps strengthen the windshield and prevents shattering. The glass is also a crucial barrier for keeping passengers from being ejected during an accident.
If a windshield is cracked, pitted or otherwise damaged, consult the experts at the dealership about your options for repairing or replacing it. Small cracks and chips can often be repaired, restoring the structural integrity of the windshield and keeping you from having to replace it. Fortunately, comprehensive insurance policies often include coverage that provides for low- or no-cost windshield repair or replacement.
Windshield wipers can make a big difference in visibility when driving in bad weather. Wipers are inexpensive wear items, but they are often overlooked. A damaged or worn out wiper can leave streaks and smears across the windshield, and wiper arms that are no longer strong enough to effectively hold the blade against the windshield can also contribute to ineffective cleaning of rain, snow and slush. Replacing blades once per season is a good way to ensure consistent windshield wiper performance. If you suspect that your wiper arms are not up to spec, a quick trip to the dealership can help you determine if they need to be replaced.
Whether your winter season includes snow or simply the occasional rain shower, taking care of windshield and wiper maintenance is an essential part of safe driving year round.