What about those pesky little windscreen cracks?

You drive behind another vehicle. You adhere to the prescribed following distance, but yet, the next moment there it is, a small stone hit your windscreen. One just cannot prevent this from happening. 

Hmm… it is small and you decide to just ignore it – for now. You should not!

Windscreens are, says Vishal Premlall, national director of the Tyres Equipment Parts Association (TEPA), a safety-critical component on any vehicle. Thus, it is not safe to drive with a cracked, however small the crack, window.

The National Road Traffic Act states no person shall operate on a public road any motor vehicle having a windscreen, window or partition made of transparent material unless the material affords the driver sufficient visibility for safe driving of such vehicle and is clearly identifiable as safety glass.

“Driving with a cracked windscreen, especially where the crack directly obscures driver vision, is unsafe. And driving with a cracked windscreen in the rain can be even more dangerous.  Rain obscures vision even further.

“You can get behind the wheel with a crack in the windscreen that is not in your line of sight but be warned that depending on the severity of the crack you can be fined for operating a vehicle in a dangerous condition,” says Johann van der Merwe, TEPA chairman.

“Also, a small chip can turn into a crack that stretches across the windscreen in no time. If your vision is obstructed by a crack in the windscreen, you are at risk of causing an accident.

Vishall Premlall.

Fortunately and depending on the size of the chip, it can be repaired before it causes a more serious challenge like replacing the windscreen.

Premlall reminds motorists that a windscreen is also an integral part of a car’s support structure.

“A bit of damage may not be apparent in normal driving conditions, but if you are in an accident the compromised windscreen can become deadly. The windscreen is a critical element in the vehicle’s structural integrity and provides key safety benefits to the occupants in the event of an accident,” he says.

And here is some food for thought:

The windscreen can protect the driver during a rollover.

When an air bag deploys during an accident, it compresses against the windscreen. A damaged windscreen cannot absorb the force of the airbag and this will not offer the protection for the driver or the passenger that it is supposed to.

Should you not be wearing your safety belt, the windscreen is the last barrier to prevent you from being thrown out of the car during an accident.

The long and the short is this: “Don’t let a small problem become a problem that could cost you your life. Replacing your windscreen could save your life,” concludes Premlall.

Source: Cathy Findley PR



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