Windshields — From Safety Hazard to Safety Feature
When steam-powered horseless carriages were a new technology in the early 1800s, there were virtually no safety features or laws and no traffic police. It would be almost one hundred years before laws requiring driver’s licenses, license plates, and the like were put into effect. Street signs were mere suggestions. Seat belts and baby car seats were nonexistent. Features like speedometers, headlights, and windshields, invented in the early 1900s, were considered optional add-ons. Obviously, safety features and laws have evolved over the past two hundred years, and windshields are no exception.
The first windshields, introduced in 1904, were made of ordinary window glass, which could cause serious injuries and fatalities in the event of a crash. As a result, hardened glass that would shatter upon impact became the required windshield material. Unfortunately, this type of glass sometimes shattered with the most seemingly inconsequential flying debris, for example a tiny pebble. Finally in 1919, Ford car manufacturers started using safety glass, which was actually two pieces of glass held together by a clear inner resin, and other manufacturers followed suit.
Today, windshields are classified as safety devices because in an accident they can help prevent passengers from being ejected, help keep the roof intact, and support the air bag system on the passenger side.
Incidentally, it’s incredibly important to carefully select a trusted, experienced company if you need to have your windshield replaced. Contact us if we can help.