As the front-facing surface of your car, your windshield takes a beating on a daily basis. It takes the brunt of any bad weather, projectile, or any number of other hazards. So it's no surprise that statistics show approximately 11 to 12 million windshields are replaced each year in the U.S. alone. You don't have to be a part of that statistic. Read on for a list of tips to help you avoid windshield damage and eventual replacement.

1. Keep Your Distance

The recommended following distance is at least 200 feet. Increase that if you're driving behind an especially large vehicle or traveling on an unpaved road, where gravel and other debris is more likely to fly up into your windshield. 

2. Go Easy On The Ice Scraping

If you live in an area where temperatures and weather require you to regularly scrape frost, snow, or ice off your windshield, make sure you use a tool designed specifically to scrape windshields. Running your defroster for a few minutes before scraping can also allow you to exert less force, decreasing your chances of cracking or breaking the glass.

3. Bypass Bad Weather

Windstorms and hail are especially dangerous for windshields. In high winds, normally stationary objects can become airborne, posing a hazard to your windshield, and hail, unlike gravel, keeps coming. If it begins hailing while you are driving, try to find cover for your car, and reduce your speed to decrease the force with which the hail is hitting your car.

4. Avoid Extreme Temperatures

Glass expands and contracts as the temperature fluctuates. Too-frequent changes in size and shape can weaken the glass and lead to cracking. Likewise, extreme differences in temperature on either side of the windshield can cause problems. So avoid placing cold water on a windshield on a hot summer day, and don't use hot water on your vehicle in the middle of winter. Keeping your heater down in the winter and your air conditioning mild in the summer can also help. Finally, if you must park your car in a very hot area, opening your windows a bit can help very hot air escape, relieving pressure on the windshield.

5. Be Proactive

Regularly inspect your windshield for chips or cracks and repair small damages as soon as possible, to keep them from spreading. Contact your auto insurer before making any repairs—in many cases, the cost is very low or even covered for small repairs. For more tips, visit sites like