You have been driving for work and to go out often lately. While on a highway, you were behind a semi that kicked up a few rocks. The rocks caused your windshield to crack, but it was small enough that you felt it was safe to keep driving with it that way.

Driving with a cracked windshield isn’t safe, though. In fact, cracks affect the integrity of the windshield and can lead to serious consequences if you are hit or if enough force shatters the windshield while you drive.

When your windshield is cracked, that crack is going to get bigger over time. That’s why most insurance policies encourage you to have them repaired at a relatively low cost as soon as possible. If you don’t, stress such as ice, snow, rain or heat could continue to cause that crack to grow, eventually leading to the windshield breaking.

Cracks in a windshield compromise your windshield’s integrity, which means that a crash could end up being more severe than if your windshield was in perfect condition. A windshield provides around 60% of the structural integrity needed to support your roof in the case of a roll-over collision. In a front-end crash, it provides around 45% of the structural stability.

A damaged windshield can also increase the risk of an ejection in a crash. If a person isn’t wearing a seat belt but a windshield is in place, they may hit it but be kept inside the vehicle. If it is cracked, the windshield could break on impact, and the person could be ejected.

If you’re planning to drive, make sure you fix your windshield. It may help save your life if you’re hit by another driver.