If your car's windscreen has cracked, you must be wondering if it can shatter. The quick answer is yes. However, various factors are involved and will determine how fast this occurs. Usually, windscreen glass is laminated, which means it has two glass layers, including a thin plastic film that's in between the glass layers.
A crack can grow when the glass contracts and expands as a result of temperature fluctuations, when an object strikes the glass, with the presence of dirt on the crack, or if pressure is applied on the glass. All these factors can worsen a crack that's already weakening the windscreen, causing it to shatter.
Can you drive with a cracked windscreen for long?
A windscreen is a significant part of the vehicle's safety system. Driving a vehicle that has a cracked windscreen isn't a good idea, whether for a short or long period. Cracks compromise your safety and that of your passengers since it will be impossible for the windscreen to function as it should in case an accident occurs. As soon as a crack happens, consider getting windscreen repairs from a reliable auto specialist as soon as possible. It would be unwise to wait before repairing or replacing the windscreen; your safety should come first always.
How long do cracks take to spread?
As aforementioned, several factors determine how long it will take for the windscreen crack to spread. This includes:
No matter how keen you are in avoiding dips and bumps while driving, it's easy to miss some. This stresses the windscreen, making the cracks spread more. While there isn't a specific period for the crack to spread across your windscreen, it will grow more if you take longer to repair or replace the glass.
Temperature and moisture
Since a windscreen is a glass sandwich, there is room for substances like moisture to get inside. If water gets into the windscreen via a crack, the entire windscreen will be weakened. And, if it's cold, the water will freeze, leading to more cracks. Extreme temperatures also have an impact on how the cracks spread. The sun can make the crack expand, while cold temperatures lead to contraction – the added pressure causing more damage.
Like water, dust can also get into the glass sandwich, and this weakens the windscreen. A temporary remedy would be to place clear tape on the crack, to keep dirt out, before you get the problem fixed.
Immediately after your windscreen cracks, consider seeking expert help to repair/replace it. Don't wait for the windscreen to shatter.