Not all windshield cracks and chips are preventable. Sometimes, you randomly discover windshield damage that appears to have come from nowhere. But the truth is most windshield damage is caused by simple neglect. That might mean neglecting to maintain a safe following distance while driving, failing to park safely — the list goes on.


Fortunately, you can do plenty of simple things to protect your auto glass from damage. Curious about what they are? Read on to find out!


1. Handle Windshield Chip Repairs Promptly

Got a small chip in your windshield? Then be prompt about getting auto glass repairs. If you wait around thinking the damage is inconsequential, that little chip could quickly grow into a moderate or large crack.


If outdoor temperatures are either super hot or super cold, that’s especially likely. And if you have to scrape ice off your windshield, you dramatically increase your risk of accidentally forcing that crack to grow.


Check out the types of windshield damage you can’t afford to ignore for a more in-depth breakdown of why it’s so important that you take care of auto glass repairs quickly.


2. Avoid Gravel On the Road

Patches of gravel aren’t the worst thing you can expose your windshield to, but they certainly aren’t the best, either. And when you live in the Twin Cities during winter, you’re bound to run into gravel on a roadway somewhere.


If you want to avoid windshield repairs, don’t drive in areas where trucks distribute gravel on the road. The tires on the vehicle in front of you can easily kick up small pieces of gravel, and those rocks can fly up straight at your windshield.


If you see construction vehicles on the road, do your best to avoid driving behind them. You never know what they might be carrying, and if any of it flies out, it could fly back at your windshield and leave a decent-sized chip or crack.


Do you live on a rural road? Then avoiding gravel-laden areas might not be possible for you. But you can still do several things to protect your windshield from flying rocks.


3. Practice the Three-Second Rule

Did you take a driver’s ed class in high school? Do you remember the nifty trick you learned about monitoring how closely you’re following the vehicle in front of you? If not, consider this your refresher.


Here’s how to put the three-second rule into practice on the road:


  1. Pick a landmark, sign, or mile marker in the distance in front of the vehicle you’re driving behind. That marker will serve as your starting point.
  2. When the vehicle in front of you passes the marker, start counting seconds. Count accurately — not too fast or this nifty monitoring trick won’t work.
  3. When you drive by the marker you picked, stop counting.
  4. If you made it to three before you passed the marker you picked, you’re good to go — that means you’re leaving three seconds of space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.
  5. If you didn’t make it to five, back off a little and test again. Repeat until you count three seconds at the very least.


This trick (aka the “three-second rule”) is meant to protect both you and the driver in front of you from a front or rear-end collision. But it also serves a secondary purpose. When you maintain a safe following distance, you’ll be better able to avoid flying road debris kicked up by other drivers’ tires.


Why three seconds? Because that’s how long it’ll take you to come to a complete stop (if your tires are in good condition) if the vehicle in front of you slams on the brakes suddenly. When road conditions are poor (aka it’s raining, snowing, or icy out), extend your following distance to at least five seconds to keep yourself safe. 


4. Park in Covered Areas

When you park out in the open, any number of objects can collide with your windshield. Flying debris, hail, icicles, and other items can all crack your windshield if they hit it hard enough. And if you park in an area you’re unfamiliar with, you could put your vehicle at risk for vandalism, too.


To avoid cracks in your auto glass and the need for windshield repairs, park in covered areas whenever possible. Even a carport or vehicle tent provides more protection than nothing at all.


5. De-Ice Your Windshield Safely

Deicing your auto glass comes with the territory when you live in the Twin Cities. But you must ensure you do the job safely if you hope to avoid accidental glass damage and unexpected windshield repairs.


Not sure what safe deicing entails? For starters, don’t use anything other than plastic tools to scrape ice from your auto glass. For an in-depth breakdown of deicing your vehicle windows safely, check out our top tips for removing ice from your auto glass.


6. If Your Windshield Has Chips, Drive Carefully

When your auto glass contains small chips or tiny cracks, that damage can quickly grow if you aren’t careful. While prompt auto glass repair is the best way to prevent glass damage from growing, sometimes, you can’t make it to the shop quickly enough.


To prevent larger windshield cracks that may necessitate a complete windshield replacement, make sure you drive cautiously when your auto glass already has damage. Avoid potholes, following other vehicles too closely, and gravel-laden roads.


Additionally, try to avoid slamming on your brakes and any other sudden, jerky actions that could put unnecessary stress on your windshield. If you don’t know already, here’s how to find a great local auto glass repair shop.


Need Windshield Repairs in the Twin Cities?

When your vehicle needs windshield repairs or any other type of auto glass repair, bring it to our team at Centennial Auto Glass! We specialize in auto glass repair and replacement for all makes and models of vehicles and provide mobile services if you can’t make it to our Blaine, MN shop.


To get a free quote or schedule an appointment, give us a call today at 651-653-1777 or contact us online with any questions or concerns, and we’ll get in touch.