HSSE SAFETY BULLETIN: Windshield Safety

Why is it important?

Windshield damage is a common occurrence in Canada during the winter months, often caused by flying rocks or other debris. Most drivers dismiss windshield damage as insignificant, especially when not directly in the driver’s line of sight, but driving with a cracked or chipped windshield can actually decrease a vehicle’s structural integrity.
A windshield acts as a load bearing structure designed to assist with the transfer and dispersement of force down the chassis of a vehicle in the event of a front-end impact. Operating a vehicle with even minor windshield damage can be serious – possibly life threatening – for drivers and passengers.

In Alberta, drivers can be ticketed for damage that includes “cracks or blemishes more than 12mm in diameter in the area swept by the wipers.”

The Hazards

  • Visibility – Cracks and chips can hinder the driver’s field of vision, even when damage is not directly in the driver’s line of sight. Every crack and chip can create blind spots and often cause the sun to reflect in the driver’s eyes.
    Cracks and chips can also damage your windshield wipers, or cause them to not properly grip the windshield making them less efficient at removing mud, rain, sleet and snow.
  • Structural Integrity – Windshields are composed of two pieces of safety glass with a layer of vinyl inbetween. They’re designed to stay intact during a collision. If the damage extends to the outer edge of the glass, there is a greater chance that the structural integrity of the windshield has been compromised.
    Your windshield provides as much as 45% of your cabin’s structural integrity during a front-end collision. In a rollover incident, your windshield can provide up to 60% of the cabin’s structural integrity.

To Replace or To Repair?

It is recommended that you get chips or cracks fixed soon as you spot them. If left untouched, glass damage can widen and spread from temperature variations, bumps in the road, or even pressure from cleaning. Often inexpensive repairs are sufficient to ensure against future damage and increase the longevity of your windshield. When the damage is extensive and repairs cannot be performed or multiple cracks are present, then the windshield must be replaced.

Never compromise safety when damages are directly in the driver’s line of site. It is Westcan’s internal policy that all windshield replacement requests can be made simply and directly, by submitting a photo to document the damages to the Fleet Manager for immediate review.

Additional Resources:

http://www.qp.alberta.ca/documents/Acts/t06.pdf

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