A windscreen is one of the most important parts of your car. Obviously it shields the driver and their passengers from the wind, weather, and debris of the road. But it also provides serious structural integrity for the car. It help support the roof and it ensure your airbag deploys properly and safely. Without the windscreen in place, your airbag may not deploy correctly. This leaves the driver and passenger at serious risk of injury. If your windshield breaks, it is important to know what to do as broken glass can severely hurt you, your passengers, and other drivers on the road. Today we are going to discuss the 10 important steps to follow with a smashed windscreen.
1: Do Not Drive
If your windscreen is badly broken, smashed, or appears to be coming off or falling into the car you need to stop driving. The structural integrity of your car relies on a safe, properly installed windshield. Small brakes and cracks should be fine, so long as you are driving, immediately, to a repair shop. Remember, if a crack or break is large enough, especially in the drivers field of vision, you can face hefty fines if the police pull you over. If your windscreen is smashed and too dangerous to drive, stop and have your car towed to a nearby shop immediately.
2: Slow Down
If you can’t stop, you need to at least slow down. In most cases, if your windscreen is damaged, you are likely already driving slowly. But if you are driving and you experience a smashed window, it is important to slow down until you can safely pull off to the side of the road or into an emergency area. Make sure you put your hazard lights on to warn other drivers that you are experiencing car trouble. You should also carefully check for other vehicles before changing lanes. Remember, at this point, the structural integrity of your car is compromised and if you were to get into an accident, you and your passengers are at risk of far more serious injuries. Once it is safe, stop your car and follow the directs in Point 1.
3: Wear Gloves
We recommend you always wear gloves if you have to deal with any broken glass. This includes disposing of the glass. It can feel like second nature to want to brush yourself down, or a passenger – even the dashboard. But remember, this fine glass can still cut and is more of a risk for getting in under your skin than larger pieces of glass. If you need to come in contact, for any reason, with broken autoglass always wear gloves. And don’t mix glass in with your normal garbage, either!
4: Vacuum Up Small Pieces of Glass
When you need to clean the interior of the car after a smashed windscreen, we recommend vacuuming up the glass. Use a high-powered vacuum to pick up any small pieces of glass that may be present. It is important to ensure you get all the glass out of the car as even small can damage your upholstery. As you get in and out of your car, over time, these tiny pieces can wear away at upholstery and carpeting, until you need serious replacements. It also risks cutting you later down the track. You should vacuum your car several times to make sure there are no small fragments left in cracks and crevices. If you are still worried, you can always get your car detailed and let them know your car has recently been in an accident.
5: How to Dispose of Glass Pieces
Once you’ve cleaned and vacuumed up all the glass – and you’re confident you’ve not missed any – you need to dispose of it. But it’s not as simple as simple throwing out the vacuum bag or dumping the canister in the bin. Glass can cut through plastic bags, leaving a mess when your bin comes to be emptied. It can also pose a risk to others, especially those in the disposal business. At the very least, glass needs to be placed in a plastic container to ensure it won’t hurt anyone once it is thrown away.
6: Determine the Cause of the Damage
In most cases, a smashed windscreen occurs during a collision with another car. And when this occurs, you simply get your insurance involved. However, in many other cases, a smashed windscreen can occur for reasons unrelated to a car accident.
One of the most common reasons for smashed autoglass is vandals. Vandals, especially during lockdowns, will often go around smashing windscreens and other autoglass just for the fun of it. In a similar vein, with the roads quieter than ever, vehicles are excellent targets for thieves to break into. If this is the case, write down as much information you know to contact the police and your insurance before contacting a repair service like Emergency Windscreens.
Road debris and loose debris falling off the back of a truck can also hit your windscreen while driving. These debris can cause a chips and cracks in your windscreen. Cracks don’t only obstruct you view of the road and surroundings, they can also lead to a smashed windscreen. Driving over speed bumps, uneven roads, and over pot holes can make cracks more significant. They can even splinter off into other cracks that can lead to your whole windscreen “smashing”. This is why we at Emergency Windscreens always insist people come in for a windscreen repair as soon as they see a chip or crack, to make it easier to repair and safer for you.
7: Prepare the Area for Replacement
In most cases, your windscreen repair and replacement technician, like those at Emergency Windscreens, will prepare the windscreen area for you. But you can take a damp towel and clean around the window seal and frame area to get it ready to be sealed. If there are small break, you can tape over them until your windscreen repair and replacement technician comes to assess the car. This can help keep the weather out. If the windscreen is smashed, park the car in an enclosed garage where possible. If not possible, you need to cover the entire windscreen in a good tarp to keep the weather out.
8: Contact Your Insurance Company
Once you have gathered all your information, as well as made any necessary police reports, you should also contact your insurance agency and find out what your plan covers. Most policies cover regular chips under comprehensive coverage. But even then, you will likely need to pay a small deductible. Find out how much they will cover and then work out the arrangement with your repair company. Emergency Windscreens has worked with insurance companies across Melbourne, ensuring our clients get hassle-free repairs and windscreen replacements.
9: Plan Alternative Transport
Modern windscreens are made from two panes of tempered safety glass with a thin plastic coating in between each sheet. This design ensures that the glass will shatter but stick to the film rather than smashing inside the car and injuring those inside. However, and extremely strong impact can completely shatter the glass, leaving behind jagged edges. In both cases, however, your car is undriveable in either condition. It is important that you call a towing company to take your car to a reliable repair company, like Emergency Windscreens. Then organise alternative transport to the repairer and/or on to your next destination while you wait on your repair.
10: Get a Quality Windscreen Replacement
When a windscreen is smashed, it is generally impossible to repair. In most cases, repairs can only be done on small chips and cracks. In the case of a smashed windscreen, the autoglass will need to be entirely replaced. Emergency Windscreens has extensive experience in replacing windscreens in a range of cars, including rare and luxury vehicles. We can also replace bus and commercial equipment windscreens (ie: trucks). We use aftermarket glass, as well as genuine brand glass, and are skilled in working with ADAS technology.
If your windscreen has a chip or crack, or if you have experienced the shock of a smashed windscreen, contact the team at Emergency Windscreens today!