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Friday, August 19, 2011

Saving Lives With Windshield Safety

Almost 34,000 people died in car crashes in the United States in 2009. The question is how many of those people might still be alive if their auto windshield had been installed with the proper safety standards?

Most people that are killed in a car crash are either ejected from the vehicle, the airbag did not deploy correctly or are crushed when the vehicle structure collapses.

The interesting thing about all three of these situations is that they are directly or indirectly related to the proper installation of the windshield. Windshields are great for keeping bugs out, but better for keeping your body in.

Your vehicle’s windshield acts as a barrier from ejection in a frontal crash, if installed correctly. According to a report that was printed back in 1985 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, using a proper adhesive like urethane instead of butyl tape in a windshield replacement installation reduces the likelihood of the windshield separating from the vehicle in an auto crash.

If the windshield doesn’t pop out, the people in the car are not as likely to eject. Urethane is a very strong adhesive used to seal the windshield in place. Good urethane adhesives are able to hold 500 pounds of pressure in an auto crash and have the strength to stop a speeding .22 bullet when properly cured.

Butyl tape is mainly a good sealer, but not designed to hold up to the kind of pressure and force exerted on it in a car crash. Even though that report was published over 25 years ago, there are many auto windshield replacement shops out there that still use butyl tape to install new windshields. Why?

It’s mainly because the use of butyl tape is cheaper and it’s easier to remove should the technicians have to replace the windshield again. That should clearly tell you something about the varying strengths of these two windshield replacement options.

Along with the quality of the windshield and the proper adhesive is the importance of curing time. That used to be a big problem for installers when it took 24 hours to properly cure. In more recent times, adhesives are designed to cure much faster.

Airbags need strong windshields to deploy properly, especially side airbags, because they inflate against the windshield, offering support to the driver and passenger airbags. These airbags when inflated press against the windshield, holding the driver and passengers away from the dashboard and windshield, preventing further injuries to face and neck.

Airbags simply cannot do the job they were designed to do if they have nothing to brace against. Having a cracked or poorly installed windshield is like having no airbag at all. In addition, properly installed windshields offer strong support to the vehicle roof, preventing it from structural collapse in a collision.

If the windshield is not installed properly, pressure from a rollover accident will cause the windshield to pop out easily. This will in turn, cause the roof to cave in on the unsuspecting driver or passenger, causing serious injury or death.

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