There are a few things that can cause auto glass to break, but it's the microscopic stress cracks and fractures that start the process most of the time. Unfortunately, the stresses that can cause these cracks can come from everyday driving.

Avoiding the Road Hazards

Just driving creates stresses on your auto glass, and this isn't normally a problem, but it can certainly become a problem if you don't drive carefully. The problem with stress cracks and fractures is that they're cumulative. That means the second a microscopic fracture starts, everything you do will cause it to grow. At some point, the integrity of your auto glass will lessen. Once that happens, the cumulative effect grows even more quickly.

Even small rocks and other debris can cause the fracture to grow. But there are some things that can turn that fracture into something that can shatter your auto glass.

  • Driving over pot holes of any size
  • Driving over speed bumps
  • The normal road vibrations while driving
  • Flexing as the vehicle absorbs shocks
  • Road debris that kicks up from the ground

Absorbing the Shocks

Everyday stresses aren't normally a problem because good auto glass absorbs shock and spreads it out. The problems start to occur when one of those microscopic fractures initially occur. Now, before the glass can absorb shock, it has to push that energy down the edge of and around the fracture.

The energy brushing up against the fracture causes the fracture to lengthen just a tiny bit more. Each new shock repeats the process. The larger the shock — such as from a large pothole — the more energy that pushes against that fracture. This will eventually lead to a visible crack.

Auto Glass Failure

What many people don't understand is that once there's a visible crack or break in your auto glass, then that's it for the glass. Any damage is a sign of auto glass failure. The integrity of the glass becomes more or less nonexistent.

At that point the glass can shatter at any time from any kind of additional energy pressing against the crack in the glass. You will need to repair the crack, or replace the glass entirely. In either case, you should do so immediately. In some cases, you legally have to do so as soon as possible. Contact a business like Performance Auto Glass to get your windshield repaired.

Good Driving Habits Can Prolong Your Glass

Before you experience auto glass failure, you should take stock of your driving habits.

  • Do you drive erratically or add unneeded stress to your car?
  • Do you try to avoid road hazards or barrel through them?
  • Do you brake and accelerate gradually?

These are the kinds of things you need to consider, as they all not only put stresses on your vehicle, but on your auto glass as well. The more you practice good driving habits, the longer your auto glass will last.