There’s no getting around the fact that regardless of season, windshield damage is a serious risk to drivers everywhere across the United States. In the spring, especially in the northern states where snow and ice are part and parcel of life, drivers must be extra careful not to damage their windshields and take immediate action if a chip or crack is detected.
As snow and ice melt away and the flowers start to bloom, rocks, gravel, and other debris become dislodged from their peaceful slumber beneath layers of snow or ice and get kicked up and around from trucks. Also, with better weather around the corner, construction equipment and other large vehicles are back on the roads kicking up a lot of debris that can quite easily fly right into your windshield.
The dangers of a cracked or broken windshield
A small crack a few inches long or a chip about the size of a quarter won’t likely put you in immediate danger and you can probably drive around town for a while without any problems. Eventually, you must have them repaired, however, because simply waiting and hoping for the best can have dangerous consequences.
If ignored, hairline cracks will over time spread into a spiderweb crack that may necessitate a costly windshield replacement as repairs are no longer feasible. That’s why it’s better to have the windshield repaired professionally sooner rather than later.
If you act early enough and the crack is a manageably small size, you could even do it yourself with a windshield crack repair kit. These kits normally contain an epoxy compound filling which must be applied directly to the crack and allowed plenty of time to set. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and never try to repair cracks larger than indicated on the package.
Larger cracks – say 10 inches or longer – or chips larger than the size of a golf ball are cause for concern and should be looked at straight away. You should not be driving around at all if your windshield is seriously damaged. Not only can you incur fines and penalties by highway patrols, but you also endanger yourself, your passengers, and others on the highway by driving around with a broken windshield.
Driving safety tips to avoid windshield damage
Driving in the spring is a lot less challenging than in the winter, especially for folks up in the colder northern states where ice and snow are a sure bet year after year. The below tips can help you navigate the roads safely during spring with minimal damage to your windshield:
- Keep an eye out for potholes. These tend to be a lot more common in the spring as the ice and snow that once covered them thaws. Although these are more dangerous to your transmission, driving over potholes can exacerbate an already damaged windshield crack.● Keep your vehicle parked in a covered area (i.e. at home or at work, if possible). Hailstorms and gravel kicked up from passing vehicles can cause damage to windshields.
- Use blankets or a hail car cover to keep your windshield protected. Blankets can be taped to the vehicle to protect it during more severe storms.
- Adjust your speed and drive slower than you normally would to avoid potholes and to minimize the damage from rocks and other flying debris.
- Keep your distance when driving behind larger vehicles like construction vehicles or semis to avoid flying debris from impacting your windshield.
- Be aware that in the spring, temperature changes lead to expansion and contraction which may cause existing windshield cracks to spread quickly.
- Keep your windshield clean at all times. Often, dirty windshields conceal cracks or chips underneath, so you can also detect these early on by keeping the windshield clean.
How to repair a cracked windshield
There are many ways to repair a cracked windshield, but in some cases where the windshield is too far gone a complete replacement will be necessary.
The first option is to repair small cracks or chips yourself with a DIY windshield repair kit. Inject the resin directly into the crack and allow it to cure.
In most cases, the best way to repair a cracked windshield is to take it into an auto glass shop near you or request for a technician to come to you. Auto glass technicians can repair cracks and chips up to a certain size and have the windshield cured and repaired in short order since they tend to use UV equipment to rapidly set the resin.