Seeing clearly

20 March 2020

Windscreens are more than just glass

I love technology. And the automotive industry has done more than most to develop clever technological solutions to better our lives.

But changes in technology necessitate changes in behaviour, from motorists and the workshops that maintain their vehicles. One example is windscreens.

A lot of early cars had small rudimentary fold-down screens – designed to keep mud and rain off the driver – that were much the same as domestic glass. As vehicles matured, windscreens became fixed – now incorporating vacuum-operated windscreen wipers. Laminated ‘safety’ glass was developed and windscreens became an important part of a vehicle’s safety cell.

Bulletproof glass became available in 1924, first used by US police departments. In 1934, Chrysler’s Imperial Airflow was launched with a one-piece curved windscreen and automotive designers went crazy with new streamlined shapes.

Later, heating elements were incorporated to demist glass in inclement weather, and UV filters were added.

These days, lots of new vehicles have windscreens incorporating Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) camera technology, an umbrella term for clever features like autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keeping assistance, night vision cameras and adaptive lighting.

But guess what: if you have an accident and require a new windscreen, it’s not enough simply to replace the glass. The workshop – body repair business or glass specialist – will also need to have the ADAS system recalibrated to ensure the safety systems continue working as designed.

Safety comes first, so don’t skimp on cut-price replacements. Insist on a comprehensive job that includes proof of ADAS recalibration.


Words: VACC CEO, Geoff Gwilym. As featured in the Herald Sun 20 March 2020.

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