Regularly driving on rural, gravel roads can easily leave scratches and dents in the body of your vehicle and may leave chips or cracks in your auto glass. While you may not care about maintaining a flawless paint job, you should definitely care about maintaining a flawless windshield. After all, driving with a cracked windshield is illegal in Minnesota.
Whether you've recently moved out to the country or you've lived there for years, you should know how to protect your auto glass from the perils of gravel road driving.
If you’re unsure how to do that, here are some tips that can help you maintain your windshield while living on a rural road.
Get Windshield Repairs Promptly
Even if you take measures to safeguard your auto glass, your windshield could still suffer a gravel-induced chip or crack, especially if you’re driving behind another vehicle. And if that happens, it’s in your best interest to have the damage repaired as quickly as possible.
Rural roads are bumpy. It's not that they directly cause more windshield damage; it's that they can easily exacerbate it via the vibrations they cause. The second you notice a crack or scratch, schedule windshield repairs. If you don’t, repeatedly driving on bumpy roads can make the damage worse.
If you’re contemplating a DIY job, be sure to check out Should You Perform Windshield Chip Repairs Yourself? so you understand the risks.
Take Your Time and Give Space
It's easy to speed down rural roads, but speeding makes it harder to control your vehicle. And when you’re following other cars or trucks — especially if you tend to follow closely — you can run into problems.
Vehicle tires can easily kick up rocks on gravel roads, and larger vehicles (particularly those involved in construction) may even drop loads on the road. In either situation, a rock could fly back at your vehicle, strike the windshield at high speed, and leave behind a chip or small crack.
Taking your time on rural roads is your best bet for avoiding this type of situation. And that means you’ll also want to keep your distance from any vehicles you might be behind. Driving slower might be frustrating, but it’s likely less frustrating than paying for windshield repairs because you were following another driver too closely.
Invest in Windshield Protection
If you want to go to the next level to protect your windshield from gravel and sand, there are film coatings that can help. Sand and gravel are culprits behind most windshield damage that occurs on rural roads, so investing in a protective film is likely in your best interest.
Sand pitting, in particular, can happen over time when you regularly drive on unpaved roads. But windshield film will effectively shield your auto glass from sand exposure, so it doesn’t suffer this type of irreparable damage. Keep in mind that film should only be applied by a professional auto glass repair specialist to ensure optimal protection.
Use All-Terrain Tires
If you’re currently using standard tires, consider making the switch to all-terrain. These tires have deeper tread, so they’re able to grip rural, unpaved roads better. Dirt, sand, and gravel can be a bit slippery, especially if you need to hit the brakes suddenly. All-terrain tires will give your vehicle more traction on the road, so you’ll be less likely to slide around and end up in a ditch with a damaged windshield.
Maintain a Full Reservoir of Wiper Fluid
When you regularly drive on unpaved roads, your windshield can get dirty in a hurry. And if you don’t keep it clean, you’ll have a tough time seeing what you need to see while driving, both on rural and urban roadways.
When you can’t see well while driving, you dramatically increase your risk of either a collision (which could damage your auto glass) or direct windshield damage from flying debris. And that means you also increase your chance of needing windshield repairs or a costly replacement.
To reduce that risk, simply keep your windshield clean. It takes mere seconds, and those seconds could very well save you money or your life.
Keep Your Car Clean
Living on a rural road, you're more likely to get bugs splattering your windshield and other dirt and dust. Make sure you clean your car regularly to avoid getting this dirt stuck on. As you clean your windshield, you can inspect it for any damage. If you don't clean your windshield regularly, you're more likely to miss any existing damage.
Schedule In-Shop or Mobile Windshield Repair in the Twin Cities
When you’ve got windshield chips or cracks, prompt, professional windshield repair is the best way to prevent that damage from spreading. And our team at Centennial Auto Glass in Blaine, MN, is here to help. We specialize in comprehensive auto glass repair, replacement, and ADAS calibration services for Twin Cities drivers and offer mobile repairs for your convenience.
To learn more or get started, give us a call today at 651-653-1777 or request a free quote online, and we’ll get in touch promptly.