Drivers have had a tough year so far, between navigating icy roads, plodding through blizzards, and replacing countless dead batteries. While many motorists choose to winterize their vehicles early on in the season, too many forget how much wear and tear these frigid months can put on a windshield and its wiper blades. A foggy windshield, combined with inclement weather, could lead to an accident, injury, insurance claim, and ultimately a spike in a driver's insurance rates.
In these unpredictable winter months, it's better to be safe than sorry. Here are some tips for drivers who want to avoid fixing a damaged windshield or replacing it entirely.
Anti-freeze is essential to a safe windshield
Many drivers underestimate the importance of anti-freeze when it comes to winter driving. Having a full tank of washer fluid can be the difference between perfect visibility and a cracked, clouded windshield. Even if motorists think they have plenty of fluid to last the winter, inclement weather could prevent them from getting to a nearby service station, so it doesn't hurt to keep an extra gallon in the trunk. Cars can go through a lot of anti-freeze during these months, so it is smart to keep extra hanging around in the garage as well.
Anyone renting a car over the winter should also do a complete evaluation before taking to the road. While car rental companies claim to check up on every vehicle after it has been used, drivers can never be too careful when it comes to operating an unknown car in difficult conditions. According to the Chronicle Herald, a rental car customer's windshield recently froze due to what she believed was antifreeze diluted with water. This led to a hazardous incident on the highway in which she was put at great risk.
Identifying types of windshield damage and their causes
It never hurts to be educated on the dangers that face a car's windshield on a daily basis. According to ThinkAutoGlass, drivers should know the vocabulary used when diagnosing windshield problems in case they need to communicate their concerns to a mechanic or towing service. Two minor problems, chips and cracks, are distinct issues but can be repaired if found early. A chip is caused by a small object, like a rock or piece of ice, and usually only affects the outer surface of a windshield. Cracks, on the other hand, are longer and can spread quickly on both the inside and outside of a windshield. Drivers should address these problems immediately, especially in the winter.
ThinkAutoGlass explained that cold weather can make chips and cracks spread horizontally and could force a driver to replace an entire windshield. Motorists should also be aware of these dangers in the summertime, as minor damages can spread vertically and may be worsened when air conditioning is kept on in hot weather.