The moment you notice a crack or chip in your windshield, it's already time to act. Some windshield damage can be repaired with high-grade resin, which fills in the gaps and dries clear to maintain visibility, but this is only possible at the very earliest stages of the damage. Other cracks and chips require a full replacement, and they'll seriously compromise your safety until that happens.

If you're wondering whether a windshield repair is even necessary, the answer is probably yes. Make your driving safety a priority, and learn why windshield cracks and chips simply can't wait.

Visibility is compromised

When you're driving on St. Paul's streets, your life depends on your ability to see everything in front of you. Without unimpaired visibility, drivers can't properly prepare for traffic signals, pedestrians or other vehicles. That's why foggy and rainy weather conditions cause accident risks to skyrocket, and why it's illegal to place a GPS navigation system too close to the steering wheel. It's also why windshield damage can't wait.

Even clear resin still creates a tiny disturbance in clarity, so depending on the location of the damage, repairs might not be possible. When a chip or crack is located within your line of sight, it doesn't matter how small it is; windshield replacement is the only option. However, even when cracks and chips occur outside your line of sight, they may prove distracting in your peripheral vision. Until they're repaired or the windshield is replaced, your visibility will suffer.

Accidents are more dangerous

When the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rates the safety of a new vehicle, they perform rigorous tests to determine how well it protects occupants in rollover and head-on collisions. However, this safety rating only reflects a vehicle that's completely intact. Windshields play a huge role in maintaining your vehicle's structural integrity, and they're especially crucial in these two types of accidents.

As long as your windshield is cracked, it's much weaker than the automaker intended. If it sustains heavy force in an accident, a damaged windshield is up to 60 percent more likely to shatter, because the surface area can no longer deflect the full impact. Cracks and chips also spread immediately when they're compromised, so your damage could be a disaster waiting to happen.

Damage will worsen

If you wait too long to schedule your windshield repair, you may need a windshield replacement instead. Dirt accumulates quickly in chips and cracks, causing the openings to expand and visibility to worsen.

For example, a rock chip repair is possible if the chip is small enough and the point of impact is outside the driver's line of sight. However, if the chip fills with dirt and other contaminants, such as windshield fluid residue, this can cause it to expand or make it impossible to completely clean out.

Tiny cracks may also spread over time, as temperature and humidity fluctuations expand and contract the glass. This doesn't happen to intact windshields, but cracks create room for shifting, and they're especially dangerous if they're close to the edge of the glass pane.

If anything disturbs your windshield's clarity or structural integrity, act quickly and call the Twin Cities' best auto glass installers. Insurance companies prefer repairs to replacements, and the process is faster and easier when damage is brand new. Instead of waiting — or assuming it's too minimal to matter — contact Only 1 Auto Glass today to schedule your windshield repair service. We'll only replace your glass if it's absolutely necessary, because our number one priority is your driving safety.