Dan Wells: Cracked windshields and winter driving

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Good Morning!  Dan Wells writing, I hope this note finds you well and in good spirits! I'm venting about a cracked car windshield. I know winter driving conditions can be dicey, but I never thought rock(s) would be flying around Tri-State roads like they are.
So when I looked up information on the issue, it was useful…so I thought I'd pass it along.
If your windshield has been cracked or damaged, it can hinder visibility. (no kidding, right?) Well, while a small ding from a pebble kicked up by the vehicle in front of you on the road may be easy to overlook in good weather, it may be more of an issue in the winter. It is also unsafe because small windshield cracks or dings can, if left unrepaired, turn into bigger problems.
In nighttime or low visibility driving situations, windshield damage can dramatically affect visibility, according to a study at the Highway Safety Research Institute. In a laboratory study simulating nighttime driver decision making, windshield damage was an important factor.
Sixteen drivers ages 17-76 were shown slides of a two-lane rural road which they viewed through four different levels of windshield damage, both with and without simulated glare. As soon as each slide appeared, drivers pressed one of two buttons to indicate if they should slow down or if it was safe to proceed. Increasing levels of windshield damage were associated with increases in response time, with decisions made with the severely damaged windshield taking 8.5 percent longer, on average, than with the undamaged windshield. So….adding glare to windshield damage resulted in further increases in response time.
As we all know, winter weather conditions contribute to an increase in auto accidents as well.  If your windshield is cracked, the overall safety of your vehicle may be compromised.
"Many people don't realize that their car's windshield contributes to the vehicle's structural integrity by supporting the roof during a rollover," says Leo Cyr, vice president of the National Glass Association's (NGA) Auto Glass Division.
Here's the good stuff: Fixing your windshield may not be as costly as you think.  Most professional auto glass businesses today offer both windshield repair and windshield replacement. By fixing small rock chips and cracks right away, you can avoid more damage, and it is highly likely that your original windshield can be saved.
So,  with all of that said I'm replacing my windshield. AND THE BEST PART....my insurance is paying for it!

Happy winter driving,
 \Dan Wells