How to know what has hit your car windshield

Posted at 4:33 PM, Sep 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-10 19:33:36-04

A series of ten shootings along Interstate 10in Phoenix, seven confirmed bullet holes, three only characterized as “projectiles” by DPS, has many drivers thinking about what would happen if their windshield took a bullet? 

Would they even know that’s what hit them? Some of the victims have told detectives they thought some other type of debris was to blame, not even checking on the damage until they got to their destination.

Safelite Auto Glass is demonstrating what it takes to crack the glass on your car and helping differentiate the impact different projectiles will have on a windshield.

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Shawn McClain, district manager for Safelite, said the most common culprit of window cracks or chips are rocks. A  medium sized rock flying at a car going 70 mph is enough to do some serious damage to a windshield, McClain said.

He points out that the most important indicator when it comes to objects hitting a windshield is whether it penetrates the glass. 

“A high caliber bullet is going through there. A smaller caliber bullet, something like a BB, is going to look similar to a rock hit because it doesn’t have the velocity to push through," McClain said. 

McClain points out that even if something as solid as a metal wrench hits a windshield, the driver and passengers are still relatively safe because of the strength of most windshields.

"This is a safety system in your vehicle," he said. "The person would still be safe, and the object is on the outside of the vehicle." 

He also admits that side windows are more vulnerable in this type of situation. While a larger object like a baseball bat won’t shatter the glass, even a BB gun pellet could instantly break a side window if it hit it at just the right spot.