When the average person looks at a car, they don’t pay much attention to the glass. That’s a shame, since automotive glass is actually an important part of the vehicle. In addition to keeping bugs out of the driver’s face, it plays a major role in the safety of passengers during crashes. It’s always best to learn a little bit about important things, and there are a few important facts to keep in mind about automotive glass.
1- It Rarely Shatters.
Movies are full of glass windows and windshields that shatter into tiny pieces, but that almost never happens during a crash. Most windshields are made out of laminated glass, which is made up of two separate glass panes with a layer of clear plastic between them. The middle layer holds the glass together when it breaks, which prevents it from shattering into small pieces during an accident. That minimizes the risk of cuts and other injuries from exposure to broken glass, which is why laminated glass is a standard safety feature in modern cars. The earliest cars used standard window glass instead, but they were replaced with tougher glass after a series of crashes in the early 20th century.
2- Airbags Depend On It.
Airbags seem simple, but they’re actually fairly complicated, and some of them depend on automotive glass to function. Passenger airbags usually deploy upwards when they expand, and they bounce off of the windshield to end up in the proper position. A windshield that was installed incorrectly or one that is made of poor-quality glass can break or get knocked out of place when that happens, according to All Valley Auto Glass. This makes windshields a core part of the car’s safety system during a crash, and is why manufacturers take the time and money to make sure they’re reliable.
3- Innovation is Coming.
Windshields may look simple, but looks can be deceiving. Many modern windshields include features that can provide protection from UV light and detect rain, but even more technology is on its way. Many manufacturers are working to integrate their windshields with augmented reality systems that can provide information at people drive. It could provide directions to useful locations, or even provide facts about landmarks or restaurants as drivers go past them. Some of the devices even respond to hand signals, which makes them easy to control while driving. It is still a new technology, so it’s hard to say what the future holds, but it will almost certainly change the way that people drive.
4- They’re The Most Common Insurance Claim.
Broken and damaged windshields are the most common reason for automotive insurance claims in the United States. Relatively few of those claims come from accidents on the road. Weather damage is much more common, especially in regions that are prone to hail storms and other destructive events. Accidental damage from other sources, such as stray baseballs, is also relatively common.
5- It Started As A Luxury.
It may seem strange to think of something as important as a windshield as a luxury item, but that is exactly how they started. The earliest cars were completely open to the elements, which left drivers exposed to bad weather and forced them to deal with high winds as they drove. Manufacturers added windshields shortly after they started producing cars in large numbers, but they were far from universal. Most manufacturers thought of them as tools for making a ride more comfortable, so they didn’t see any reason to add them as a standard feature. That changed relatively quickly, both because improvements in the manufacturer processes made windshields cheaper and because people realized the safety benefits, but they were a rare sight when cars were new.