You’re driving down the road when suddenly, a rock flies up and cracks your windshield. What should you do? Continue driving? Have the crack repaired? If you’ve ever been caught in this scenario, you’re certainly not alone. Every year, drivers replace over 13 million windshields nationwide—and the number of cracked windshields still on the road? We imagine that number is higher still. But should you really be driving around with a glaring crack in your windshield? Here to answer that question are the automotive glass experts at Centennial Glass in the Twin Cities metro area. Below, we discuss why driving with a cracked windshield is downright dangerous.

Compromised Structural Integrity

A crack in your windshield compromises the structural integrity of the front end of your vehicle, leaving you susceptible to injury should you have an accident. In the event of a front-end collision, your windshield helps to transfer force to your vehicle’s chassis. If you don’t know what a chassis is, it’s essentially your vehicle's frame, along with engine components like your transmission and driveshaft.

Because your frame is designed to handle the impact of a collision, it helps to lessen the effect you and your passengers feel from within the vehicle. A front end collision with a cracked windshield, however, is a different story. Even a slight crack can yield under the force of a collision, potentially causing your windshield to shatter. Not only does broken glass present a serious danger, but you and your passengers will be left to absorb the brunt of the impact.

Impaired Airbag Deployment

If a collision triggers your airbags to deploy, cracked auto glass can put your passengers in danger. Your windshield plays a critical role in the proper deployment of your vehicle’s passenger-side airbag. An intact windshield provides a solid surface to direct the airbag on the appropriate course of deployment. However, if the structural integrity of your windshield is already compromised, the glass may shatter, leaving the bag to inflate out through the opening. You and your passenger must now absorb the force of the impact, and your passenger won’t have any protection beyond a seatbelt.

The Crack Always Grows

Driving around with a small chip in your windshield might be okay, as but larger cracks always grow. In Minnesota, significant temperature fluctuations can cause your auto glass to expand and contract over the course of the day. If you park your car outdoors, your windshield is more susceptible to these fluctuations, potentially causing the crack growing over time. If the crack is close the border of your windshield, vibrations while driving further weaken the glass, as does hitting potholes or road debris. If you catch the crack while it’s still small, however, you may be able to get away with a simple windshield crack repair instead of replacing the whole thing.

Your Windshield Replacement Specialists

If your windshield has a crack that’s getting out of hand, it’s time to call the auto glass replacement experts at Centennial Auto Glass. Whether you need windshield crack repair or a full windshield replacement, our experienced and knowledgeable technicians are here to guide you through the process. For any questions, or to schedule your auto glass repair or replacement, contact us at 651-653-1777.