Winter temperatures causing windshields to crack

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - The structural importance of windshields can often go unnoticed, but a crack or a chip in the glass could put your life at risk.

"I would never drive with squeaky brakes for very long and I would definitely never drive with a cracked windshield."

Eva Games with Reno Novus Auto Glass says the windshield is what holds the roof of the car up and is a backboard for the airbags.

"In a rollover accident you need to stay in a car; that is the most important thing. So your seatbelt keeps you in, the windshield keeps you in, the roof keeps you in, so if any of those things are compromised by a cracked windshield or anything like that, then you don't have that guarantee, that safety aspect."

Both Games and Steve Douglass with Reno SuperGlass say during the winter more drivers are getting chipped windshields.

"Because there is more stuff on the roads, more sand, more rocks; water brings it up and then people are traveling at higher rates of speed on the freeway of course and it throws those rocks up on the windshields," says Douglass.

Douglass adds drivers should always check their windshields for chips.

"Just observe your windshield. If you do hear something hit while you were driving, have a look at it; when you get home take a look and make sure it's not something serious."

And if there is a chip in the glass, no matter how big or small…

"Ideally you'd want to take care of that damage as soon as you discover it."

And if you have a chip during the winter make sure to remember cold weather contracts the heat in the air of the crack, and as you heat it up the air expands, which can cause the chip to crack out.

"If there is snow on your windshield don't immediately turn on the defroster to the hottest setting, kind of gradually heat it up because if you do have a break, that's what will break it out, if you have damage that's what will break it out," says Douglass.

Repairing a chip in a window takes about 15 to 20 minutes and sometimes won't cost you a thing.

"Most insurance companies will actually waive your deductible so the repair becomes free. So if it's something that's free, why not," says Games.