When your windshield gets cracked, you may decide that you can live with it for now. After all, what harm could possibly come from a crack in your windshield, besides making your car look bad? Actually, there are three ways that you could be putting your life and the lives of those traveling with you in danger.

Extreme Temperature Changes Could Shatter the Glass

No matter what time of year you are driving, your windshield undergoes the stress of sudden, extreme temperature changes. In the winter, your car's heater clashes with the frigid cold on the outside of the glass. In the summertime, your air conditioner's cold air fights with the heat of the sun.

These temperature changes make the glass in your windshield expand and contract. When it is intact, the strength of the glass is able to withstand the pressure and strain.

However, if there is a crack in your windshield, the pieces surrounding the crack strike each other when contracted glass expands suddenly. This sudden expansion increases the chance of your windshield shattering.

If this happens while you are driving, the shards of glass could severely cut you or one of your passengers. Even if the glass does not cut someone, the distraction may make you swerve and drive off the road or into a nearby vehicle.

Structural Integrity of Your Vehicle Is Compromised

The structural composition of your windshield is not the only part of your vehicle that is compromised when the glass is cracked. A crack in your windshield can also affect the structure of your entire car.

When the windshield is whole and free from damage, it helps keep the roof of your car in place. If you were to be in an accident in which the vehicle rolls, the glass can prevent a cave-in of the roof because it and the frame bear the brunt of the impact.

However, if the glass is cracked, this support is no longer stable. If impact does occur, the first thing to break and shatter would be the windshield. Once the glass is no longer supporting the roof, it is more likely to bend under the pressure, increasing the possibility of the metal bending inward and causing serious head and other upper body injuries.

Air Bags May Not Work in a Collision

Along with a loss of ability to keep your roof intact during an accident, a cracked windshield can have another dire effect during a collision. When the glass is cracked, your air bags may not work properly if your car hits someone or something head on.

When the air bags deploy during a collision, your car's windshield acts like a backboard for the bags. The air bags strike the glass and are brought forward to where they can cushion your head to keep it from hitting the dashboard.

However, when your windshield is cracked, the force from the air bags could make the glass shatter. If the windshield breaks, the air bags do not have the support needed to fully bring them back toward you.

Also, the broken glass could puncture and deflate the bags, rendering them useless. Without your air bags, you or your passenger may hit the dashboard during the impact, possibly causing major head trauma.

If your windshield is cracked, you should have it  as soon as possible to keep you and your passengers safe from harm. Contact Capital Auto Glass to schedule a same-day appointment so they can come to you and fix the crack in your glass so you can drive your vehicle without having to worry about the potential dangers of a damaged windshield.