Nearly two decades after cars were first invented, windshields were installed as a way to protect the vehicle’s driver and all of the passengers from debris and wind, when in motion. Oddly enough, the windshield was not a standard feature on cars or trucks until well into the 1920s. It was only when automobiles had the ability to travel at faster speeds that safety glass was invented.
Since the early days, there have been huge improvements in the structural integrity of automotive glass. Today, it is considered to be one of the highest rated safety features on an automobile.
There are three specific safety features that a windshield provides on a vehicle. It reduces the potential of a passenger or driver being propelled from the car or truck, during a collision or accident. Studies indicate that any vehicle occupant that is ejected during a collision or accident has a higher potential of receiving a fatal injury.
Next, the windshield provides the backstop that is necessary to hold the airbag in place once it has deployed. Any compromised windshield that has chips or cracks might improperly absorb only a fraction of the shock, upon impact. Lastly, the windshield provides the necessary structural support to the vehicle’s roof.
Laminated Glass – for the last seven decades, auto manufacturers have used laminated glass for the windshields on cars and trucks. A piece of laminated plastic is fused between two identical curved pieces of windshield. Once complete, the laminated structured windshield will hold together upon impact, and reduce the potential of producing shards of glass in the event of an accident or collision.
Tempered Glass – For decades, auto manufacturers have chosen to use tempered glass on the back and side windows of a car and truck. The tempered glass is designed to shatter into thousands of pebble size pieces upon impact. This eliminates the potential of creating shards of glass which could be lethal to passengers and the driver.
Tempered glass is produced by creating the size, shape and dimension of the final piece of glass and heated to a proper temperature. It is then allowed to cool completely before being re-fired with heat to a specific temperature that “tempers” the glass, or re-cooks it to change its metabolic structure.
Windshields cannot be made of tempered glass due to the potential of the glass shattering if the rock hits the windshield while the vehicle is in motion.