Windshields can account for up to 30 percent of the structural integrity of a car, yet drivers are “largely unaware of the safety risked posed by compromised windshields,” according to a statement from United Kingdom-based Autoglass, which is a part of Belron.
“The survey of 1,000 U.K. drivers found that more than half (53 percent) are not aware that a correctly installed windshield is essential to a car’s roof crush resistance in a rollover situation,” according to the statement. “A worrying 71 percent of drivers are unaware that an incorrectly installed windshield can impact effective passenger airbag deployment.”
When asked what they considered to be the most important safety feature in a car, drivers ranked the windshield as the fifth most important factor, the company reports.
“The research also found that 78 percent of drivers are massively underestimating the amount of force that would be created by their body in even a relatively slow collision,” according to Autoglass’ statement. “In fact, in a head-on collision at 30 mph, your body exerts as much force as an object or animal equivalent to 1,000 kilograms in weight as it is forced toward the windshield. This is roughly the same weight as a polar bear, a hippopotamus or small car. The risk of serious or fatal injury has been shown to be increased between three and 40 times for ejected occupants compared to being retained inside the vehicle.”
Almost half of U.K. drivers surveyed (43 percent) don’t realized that driving with a cracked windshield could be considered an offense by a road traffic officer.
“We carried out crash tests at a speed of 30 mph to see what the effects were of an un-bonded windshield,” says Jeremy Rochfort, national sales manager at Autoglass. “Upon impact, the windshield was completely displaced, which caused the passenger airbag to inflate outside the confines of the vehicle. The result was that the airbag became incorrectly positioned to deliver the full safety benefits when the dummy first struck the airbag.”