A car’s windscreen is often the one and only part of the car that goes unnoticed or unappreciated until damage is noticed. While it’s often acknowledged that the a car’s windscreen protects the driver and the users of the vehicle and is very important, most drivers are pretty relaxed when it comes to knowing more about their car windscreen and safety.
Sometimes cracks can appear on your windshield and you have no idea how they got there. While it can be very annoying and frustrating, especially when it becomes recurring, here’s all you need know about car windscreens and safety.
3 Most Common Reasons For Windscreen Damage
1. High temperature
When you subject your car to high temperatures under the hot sun, the glass might start to expand and cause certain microscopic fractures to worsen and increase in size. This is due to the high increase in temperature that leads to increase pressure that’s exerted on the windscreen itself.
2. Stones and debris
This is one of the most common but highly likely source of damage to your car windscreen. If you’re on the high way and driving at high speed, the car in front of you might deflect stones or debris unwittingly onto your windscreen, causing damage that starts from minor chips and cracks to serious visible damage.
To avoid this, you need not to stay too close to a vehicle which is at high speed as this is a major cause of cracked or broken windshields.
3. Loose or poor quality installation
If your car’s windscreen wasn’t installed correctly, there is a high likelihood that windscreen damage is due to the poor installation technique. As you drive your car, bumps and vibrations to your car’s windscreen that isn’t addressed property will eventually impact your windscreen and cause cracks or damage.
4. Losing structural support and strength of the car’s cabin structure
Instead of just being a piece of glass in front of you, did you know that in a car collision from the front, the windshield provides close to 45% of structural integrity? What’s more, in the case where your car rolls over, the windscreen provides 60% of the structural support! This makes your windscreen an integral part of making sure your car’s roof doesn’t collapse and crush you or your passengers in a serious collision!
What Are The Dangers Of A Damaged Windscreen
1. Rollover accidents
As cars get lighter and pillars get thinner, greater reliance has been placed on windscreens to provide occupant protection in rollover accidents. Research has shown that in these situations, the displacement of the roof towards the occupants of the car can be increased by up to 30%, if a windscreen is damaged or poorly bonded.
2. Passenger ejection
It goes without saying that you and your passengers should wear your seat belts at all times. However, in the event of a collision, your windshield also serves as a barrier to protect you and your passengers from being ejected from the car. If your windscreen has even a minor crack, this means it is fundamentally weaker than it needs to be and may not be able to withstand the force of a body being hurled against it.
3. Torsional and structural stiffness
Your windscreen also plays a pivotal role in the handling characteristics of your car, as modern windscreens provide up to 34% of the torsional stiffness. In a similar vein, your windscreen serves as a means to dissipate impact and spread the force of a collision throughout your chassis. If the windscreen is damaged, this benefit is lost.
What Are Car Windscreen Safety Standards?
It’s important to know that you can’t just slap on any piece of glass in front of your car and call it a windscreen. The manufacturing and installation process of a windscreen has been fine-tuned over the years to meet exceptional safety standards across the world, including Malaysia. Furthermore, car windscreens should also be evaluated using the ANCAP Safety Rating.
Some of the common safety standards include:
- Windscreens must be made from safety glass. This is because this safety glass is dual layered, with a chemical compound or laminated material separating both layers. When the glass breaks or shatters, the plastic centre holds the glass intact.
- The glazing products in windscreens must also be sufficiently resistant to: incidents likely to occur in normal day-to-day traffic, atmospheric and temperature changes, chemical exposure, abrasion and combustion.
- The windscreen should be able to pass a number of tests, such as the: ball impact test, fragmentation test, and tests of resistance to the environment, abrasion, high temperatures, radiation, humidity, weathering, and more.
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