Why Windshield Cracks Spell Danger in Cold Weather
While driving around with a chipped windshield is never safe, it can be especially dangerous during cold weather. Why is this so? Several reasons!
A clean and clear windscreen glass is all important for proper visibility while driving. During winter, outside visibility is already at a low due to snow, sleet and hail; and a cracked windshield will only add to your vision problems. With the longer nights, there are more hours of darkness as well and the crack in your windshield will cause glare as it reflects the light from street lamps in all directions, dazzling your eyes and making it extremely difficult to drive. This is more profound if the crack is directly in your line of vision.
Chipped glass is affected by extremely low temperatures and is more likely to spread and widen into a crack if left neglected. During winter, windshields keep alternating between frozen and warm conditions and these fluctuations in temperature cause the glass to expand and contract. When the weather gets colder, you are most likely to turn the heater up inside the car, and extreme changes in temperature between the inside and outside surface of the windshield will cause the glass to be stressed. Before you know it, small chips could turn into long and deep cracks that run the expanse of your line of vision.
Again, if your windshield gets frosted up, you may need to use a scraper to clear the ice build up. This can also cause a chip to widen or crack. Running the defroster will cause a sharp temperature change and again result in stress on the glass.
Sounds worrying, doesn’t it! So, what do you do?
It’s simple. As soon as you spot a chip on your windshield, take it to a repair shop straight away! Chances are a chip or a small crack can easily be repaired, saving you the trouble of going in for a total windshield replacement if it gets worse. Many insurance plans do cover the cost of a chip repair, so check with your service provider.
Till the time you are able to get it repaired, you must keep it clean so that dirt does not enter the crack. During winter, any dirt will easily get into the crack because of the wet weather conditions. The best way is to cover it with clear duct tape- the kind that does not leave a sticky residue when removed.
Ensure that your windshield wipers are in good condition- if the metal on your wiper is exposed, it can scratch the glass further and deepen the crack.
Also make sure that you don’t use boiling water or turn the heater on to defrost your glass. This sudden temperature change will also widen the crack. Use a plastic ice scraper to remove the ice rather than anything made of metal. Leave the windows open for a while to let some fresh air in and defog the glass.
Drive safe in the cold weather- and keep your windshield glass in good condition!