How Does an Intact Windscreen Keep You Protected During a Collision?
You should already know that driving with a crack or chip in your windscreen isn't safe, but you probably only think that because any imperfection can reduce visibility. However, you might not have considered how a windscreen is able to keep you and your passengers safe from harm in the event of a collision.
People often discount the importance of the windscreen in a collision, seeing it as one of the weakest parts of the vehicle. In fact, a proper windscreen is incredibly important. Here are just a few reasons why.
Supports the Frame
Modern automobiles are becoming more and more sophisticated in the way frames are used to distribute collision energy and keep occupants safe. The sheet metal and bumpers are obviously important, but the windscreen is also reinforced and used to absorb energy. During a frontal collision, for example, the windscreen will be responsible for absorbing a huge amount of the incoming force — if it fails to perform, the frame won't crumple in a way that keeps you safe. The windscreen is also important if your car rolls over — it acts as a support to make sure the car doesn't crush downwards on top of you.
Supports the Airbags
One thing that people often don't know about airbags is that they deploy towards the windscreen before they deploy towards the occupants. It's quite hard to notice this since they deploy so quickly, but it's a vital step to ensure that the airbags are braced against something by the time they absorb the energy of your body moving forwards. If the windscreen glass is weakened, it may prove unable to take the force, and the airbags won't cushion you as effectively as they should.
One common cause of fatalities from motoring accidents is the ejection of a driver or front passenger from the vehicle. If the seatbelt is not worn, the force of impact can be great enough to propel a body through the windscreen and out into the road. One reason why modern windscreens are reinforced is to prevent this from happening.
Prevents Secondary Accidents
You might be thinking that collisions this serious are rare. You're right, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do your utmost to see that you're protected, especially since an intact windscreen can prevent a small accident turning into a larger one. If you just take a minor bump and the windscreen shatters, you'll be far more likely to become involved in a secondary accident because you'll be disorientated and unable to see ahead.
A chip or crack in the windscreen might seem like a minor worry, but such seemingly small issues can dramatically reduce the vehicle's ability to protect you during a collision. Make sure you opt for windscreen replacement or repair if there are chips and cracks in your windscreen.