Windshield Damage is Typical
It’s unlikely you’ve gone your entire life without ever having a damaged windshield- a rock chip at the very least. Windshield breakage typically happens one every eight years on average, but we see or hear about thousands of cases every day—some of them a bit more bizarre than others. Rocks aren’t the only thing hitting and breaking your windshield that you need to worry about. Larger and heavier objects can bounce high enough to break a windshield too. And even though your windshield is made to be seriously tough, it’s no match for some things. We’ll tell you about some of the more bizarre windshield breakage stories we’ve heard.
What Causes Windshield Damage?
Parts from Other Vehicles
Many accidents are caused every day by parts that come loose from other driver’s cars- particularly commercial vehicles such as pickup and semi-trucks that see many hard miles. These heavy duty parts can cause serious windshield damage. Not only that, but after smashing through the windshield they can strike passengers, causing serious injury or even death.
Believe it or not, wheels are one of the more popular (and critical) parts that vehicles tend to lose. If the lug nuts that hold the wheel to the axle come loose, the wheel may eventually fall off. A 30+ pound wheel bouncing down the road at highway speed is sure to take out whatever lies in its path- and sometimes a car’s windshield is unlucky enough to take the brunt of the impact. Even wheels with the axle still attached have been known to break windshields. One account tells of a woman who ended up with an axle stuck through the windshield directly above the steering wheel, inches from her face. Fortunately, her son had been driving the car the night before and adjusted the seat backward a few notches.
Although less formidable and less common, tires themselves can become dismounted from the rim and land on a driver’s windshield. Another account tells of a driver who’s new used car was totaled by a semi truck tire 10 minutes after leaving the dealership. The driver of the semi had brand new tires mounted just days before. There was speculation that the tire was not seated properly during the install.
Not Just Wheels and Tires
Another common culprit of smashed windshields is the tow hitch. This metal attachment that slides into a mount, bolted to a truck’s frame, can weigh anywhere from about 5 to 25 pounds. It is held in place by a pin. If the pin is not put in place or falls out, the hitch is liable to vibrate itself out of the mount. A solid piece of steel with so many angles and edges can bounce up and through a windshield, causing serious damage to whatever is in its way. Other objects causing broken windshields include leaf spring suspension parts and brake drums.
Hauling Materials Can Be Dangerous
Hauled materials account for countless incidents of windshield breakage as well. These can come from trailers, tractor trailers, pickup trucks, or even just materials strapped to the roof of a car. In many instances the objects being hauled are too large for the vehicle or the load is not secured properly. Long objects such as pipe, beams, logs, and lumber account for many of these. They act like javelins and spear through windshields, forcefully striking whatever they land on beyond the windshield. Fatalities are common If the location of the strike is unlucky.
Other common objects include steel plates, crates and other random objects like large pipe couplers. These have a bit more surface area at the windshield, so the impact is not as concentrated, but the damage can certainly be just as destructive.
Strange Objects Break Windshields Too
Accounts of odd objects striking windshields are just as numerous. Sometimes these objects innocently fall from another vehicle, either forgotten or unsecured. But other times objects are maliciously thrown from passing vehicles or off of overpasses. Take, for example, multiple accounts of gallon jugs breaking through windshields- even the windshield of a semi truck in one instance. Pranksters on Halloween are known for sometimes hurling pumpkins at vehicles. One would hope that a hollow pumpkin would simply explode on impact but too often the mass of these gourds is enough to cause serious windshield damage. Other seemingly innocent crops, like small bales of hay, can damage windshields due to their mass.
Tools left on bed rails or in open beds of trucks, such as wrenches and axes, tend to work their way towards the ground with every bump and twist in the road. Even odd objects such as dumbbells and even boat oars have been known to come loose. They then bounce along until coming in contact with something.
Windshield Damage Nearly Inevitable
Unfortunately, when you combine the speed of a moving vehicle with the mass of just about any hard object glass, damage can occur when the object comes in contact with something. When it happens to come in contact with glass, the effects can be devastating. Even an object as small as a metal BB can leave a chip on a windshield. Multiply that force by the mass of the objects above and you have a windshield that needs to be replaced and likely bodily injury too.
More Windshield Break Stories
Interested in other odd stories of windshield breaks? Check out our last blog about birds, mammals, and even reptiles. Sometimes these animals get just a little too curious or find their way onto a busy highway. We’ll also have blogs coming up about glass breakage from storms, sporting events, vandalism, and even road rage.
If you have any stories of your own, we’d love to hear them! Let us know in the comments below. And if you yourself have been a victim of broken auto glass, be sure to have the windshield professionally repaired or replaced at a reputable glass shop.
Where to Repair Your Broken Windshield
Using professional auto glass providers is especially important if there was any damage to the car’s body surrounding the windshield. They will be able to determine whether any bodywork must be performed to ensure a safe replacement. Use Glass.com to easily find a reliable glass replacement shop near you. Compare price quotes from different shops and book your job right from our website- no hassle, no commitments!
It was really interesting when you said that the tires being dismounted from the rim and hitting the windshield is very uncommon to happen. However, that was what happened with my car a few days ago. Because of the tire hitting it, now the windshield of my car has a large crack at the very center. I will be sure to get it replaced as soon as possible and hope that something so uncommon never happens to me again. Thanks!
My car was hit for a plastic chair coming from the ten floor in the building where I live. That object broke my windshield glass with me inside because I just was parking.
The responsible person said that he can pay, but late he said that the insurance cover, and now he does not want to pay anything.
The problem is that the insurance cover an generic glass and I want my original one.
Do you think that a lawyer can take my case?. I do not want to pay because I was not my fault.
Please give me your opinion.
Sorry to hear of the bad luck. We can’t offer legal advice, but we can certainly appreciate your desire to have OEM glass installed!
An item (we aren’t sure what it was) black like steel and larger than a marble came through the windshield shattering a hole in the glass and landed underneath the drivers seat where it started a few grocery bags on fire and burnt a jacket and a pillow that were nearby leaving burn holes in the carpet. Luckily my husband was sitting in the back seat with our daughter at the time and saw the flames very quickly & was able to roll it out of the vehicle slightly burning his fingers and using the jacket.
Wow! We’re glad everyone was ok. Could it have possibly been a small meteorite?
Meteorites are not hot when they land. It is a myth.
Just had a very large brake pad go completely through my windshirld
I was loading my 10 foot kayak into my 2017 Honda CRV EXL and being very careful. I didn’t even recall bumping the windshield, because I knew better than to put it in that far without going around to the dashboard and wrapping a heavy towel around the tip of kayak so that when I inched it forward another 4 inches, it wouldn’t damage the windshield. In fact, I loaded my kayak a dozen times last fall this way with no incidences. It fits in there and the gate actually shuts as well. However, now I am leary about loading my kayak into my CRV, because I do not want another cracked windshield.
What kind and size of hole and cracks would be left by a bullet passing through a car windshield? A car side window? A car back window? I’m writing a novel.