See anything wrong with this picture?

It’s hailing as you back out of your driveway, so to get to your destination quicker you take a short cut down a gravel road and hit the accelerator. There’s a semi-trailer truck in front of you, so you get up close behind it while hoping it might block some of the hail pounding your car. Instead, its tires keep flinging gravel in your face. You decide to pass and come upon a dump truck hauling decorative stone to a landscaping job. Now you notice tiny stones cascading from its cargo area and bouncing off the road onto your car.

OK, stop. What’s wrong with this picture? Everything! Unless you’re interested in getting a new windshield.

Reasonable drivers know they should drive cautiously in bad weather, not get too close to semis or other large trucks, and be careful on gravel roads. In fact, they should approach any abnormal driving situation with care.

Because there are many circumstances that can lead to a chipped, cracked, or broken windshield. And once a chip gets started it can lead to bigger problems, since on average 50 percent of chips crack within a year.

Knowing the road conditions in your area, especially after bad weather, can help you keep customers prepared and aware while driving so they don’t suffer windshield damage. And, you’ll be prepared for the customers that, no matter what precautions they take, will still be coming to you for repairs.

Here are some of the main perpetrators of glass chip repair and windshield crack repair:

Storms

They stir up road debris. They send rocks and branches flying. They can feature hail, ice, and other natural threats to windshields.

Winter

For some areas of country, windshields covered with snow and ice are common. That means using an ice scraper – but it doesn’t mean chopping at icy patches. That could lead to chipping the glass. Plus, customers should never use hot water to melt the ice, as the extreme temperature swing could easily crack the glass.

Should there already be a chip or crack in the windshield, moisture could get into it and freeze and expand when the temperature drops. This turns a chip into a small crack, and a small crack into a larger crack. Plus, temperature changes caused by the defroster warming the windshield on the inside while the outside stays cold can also cause the crack to expand.

In fact, according to a Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA) study, chips were likely to spread more than 80 percent of the time at temperatures of 14 degrees. And chips tested at 32 degrees were nearly 60 percent likely to crack.

Potholes

Temperature changes also affect roads. Melting snows often reveal potholes, caused by asphalt expansion and contraction during the winter. While potholes generally damage tires, wheel rims, and a car’s underside, they can also impact glass as well. Bouncing through a teeth-rattling pothole can cause an existing windshield crack to lengthen.

Bad roads

Gravel roads, dirt roads, and roads under construction can be hard on windows. They’re covered with, well, gravel, rocks, and other loose, hard items that other vehicles can send flying into a windshield and causing chips and cracks. Remind customers to keep a safe distance from vehicles in front of them when driving on these roads.

Road debris

Even paved roads can have glass-shattering debris on them. For example, stones, rocks, chunks of asphalt, and other debris dug up by snow plows during the winter remain on the road. Vehicles can drop debris on the road, possibly without even knowing it (like that stone-leaking dump truck mentioned at the beginning). Flying objects come without warning, so urge customers to always pay attention and be ready to take evasive action to protect their windshields.

Bad weather can drive people inside. But it can also end up driving business your way. Be prepared by knowing the weather and what it’s doing to the roads in your area.