You’re driving down a gravel road when you notice a small chip on your windscreen. You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s no big deal – it’s just a chip, after all. But minor issues can quickly become major headaches when left unseen to; windscreen damage is one area where nothing is insignificant.
Happily, that means there’s lots you can do to recognise early signs of trouble, limit the damage caused, and even avoid issues in the first place. We’ve created a full guide on windscreen protection – plus what happens if you need to get your windscreen repaired.
Complete with a colourful collection of descriptions, there’s quite the list when it comes to the various types of damage you might spot on your windscreen.
- Chip When a small piece of glass comes off the windscreen, usually due to debris or loose chippings
- Bull’s Eye Same as a chip, but larger
- Scratch A line of surface damage on the outer surface of the windscreen
- Edge crack A crack through the windshield that lies close to, or touching, the outer edge of the windscreen
- Floater crack A crack located more than a few inches from the edges of the windscreen
- Star crack A series of cracks emanating from an impact point – it resembles the shape of a star
- Stress crack A crack, which is not caused by impact, but usually changes in temperature
What is the one thing they all have in common? They’re best addressed sooner rather than later. Whatever the case, it’s best to bring all queries to the professionals.
Of course, there's plenty that you can do to reduce the risk of damage and protect your windscreen; from regular care to clever driving habits, a bit of smart thinking goes a long way:
Keep your distance
Large trucks, construction vehicles, or lorries with open loads are all far more likely to send a troublesome piece of debris your way. Even driving alongside these vehicles brings a greater risk – so if you’re unable to drive in front of them, reduce your speed and try to maintain a significant distance.
Survey the surface
It should come as little surprise that gravel roads, with their masses of small stones and loose material, are a major cause of windscreen damage; the same is true of areas where roadworks are taking place. Slow and steady is the name of the game if you must travel on these types of surfaces – and be aware that other drivers might not be taking the same type of precautions as you are!
Potholes are a double whammy when it comes to windscreen damage. As well as the increased likelihood of debris shooting up and causing damage, a hefty thump is a sure-fire way to turn a small crack into a larger one instantly. Of course, the list of why potholes are a pain is already a long one – ranging from wheel alignment to tyre damage – so the overall message is simple; do everything you can to steer clear.
Watch your wipers
When we asked motoring expert Bob Flavin for car maintenance tips, he specified cleaning wiper blades and replacing them when needed. Given that they’re in direct contact with your windscreen, failure to do so is often a precursor to windscreen damage.
De-ice with care
Pouring boiling water to melt the morning frost is just asking for the types of stress cracks that are caused by sudden changes in temperature. Along similar lines, scraping ice off with an unsuitable device is another entirely avoidable risk. Instead of boiling water, why not opt for a de-icer and scraper? It’s important to note that winter conditions are a hazard in themselves, and any chips or cracks are more likely to be exacerbated during colder months.
Although it’s possible to repair windscreen chips, scratches or cracks yourself using a windscreen repair kit, it’s always advisable to get the work done by a professional to ensure no long-term damage has been caused. Check to see if your car insurance policy includes repairs to damaged and cracked windscreens. Aviva’s windscreen cover is included in our comprehensive car insurance cover. You can have your windscreen or windows repaired whenever you need it by one of our aligned windscreen repairers. What’s more, if you make a windscreen claim you won't lose your no claims discount so your next car insurance quote won’t increase because of the claim.