When to replace a damaged windshield

There are regulations that describe damage that is considered to be vision-obstructing...

Recently I was coming back from the ski hill and got a rock chip in my windshield that has started to crack and spider.

I know there is a violation ticket that may be written for a cracked windshield. I plan on getting it changed in the spring after the roads are swept because I don’t really want to spend $200 dollars to have a windshield changed on the chance it may get hit with another rock.

This reader is correct; there are a number of ways for police to deal with a broken windshield ranging from a notice and order to repair to a ticket or even an order removing the vehicle from the roadway if the damage is serious enough.

Since about 80 per cent of the information that you need comes from your eyes, being able to see properly is a must.

So, when is a windshield damaged sufficiently to require replacement?

There are regulations that describe damage that is considered to be vision-obstructing.

Conditions include a crack over 300 mm long in any part, more than two cracks over 150 mm long in any one piece of glass, stone or shot injuries more than 40 mm in diameter, two or more stone or shot injuries over 20 mm in diameter in any one piece of glass and broken glass showing sharp edge.

I understand the balance of risk to the budget against the risk of replacing the windshield, only to have it damaged again.

Being able to see is important, but you must also take into account that the glass is a structural component of the vehicle these days and also plays a part in body integrity and proper air bag deployment.

Failing to replace it when needed could have significant consequences.

For more information on this topic, visit www.drivesmartbc.ca. Questions or comments are welcome by e-mail to comments@drivesmartbc.ca. Tim Schewe is a retired RCMP constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. His column appears Friday.

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