It is important to have good vision when driving, especially in the winter when dirt and snow often try to block it.

That is why it is important to have a windshield that is not broken or chipped.And if it is damaged or cracked . . . "Then it's best to get it repaired or replaced before winter. In cold weather, rock chips can eventually result in a broken window from all the expanding said Dean Layton, president of AA Glass.

Rock chips, although seemingly small, can easily turn into a broken windshield. Chips usually occur on the outside layer of glass. Moisture can get into the chip and the freezing and thawing, the expanding and contracting can cause the glass to crack.

Layton said chips are patched with a clear chemical that bonds the glass together. This allows the glass to expand and contract uniformly so it doesn't split.

The chemical, added Logan, is about 95 percent clear. "You can see it if you look hard. It's a lot better than having a chip in the windshield, however. Sometimes it doesn't work, but most of the time it does. I'd say it works 99 percent of the time."

Insurance companies prefer drivers repair the chips. In most cases they will waive the deductible and pay 100 percent of the cost of the repair.

Logan pointed out that a new windshield can cost between $250 and $300. Fixing a rock chip costs only $39.95.

He pointed out, too, that in today's vehicles even the smallest crack in a windshield can lessen its structural integrity.

"People with 14- and 15-inch cracks in their windshields shouldn't take the risk," he said. "It's unsafe."

Drivers with pitted and scratched windshields can also find it difficult to see, especially at night or when there a glare reflecting from it.

People with questions on the care and replacement of their windshields should come by and ask, said Layton.

He also warned drivers not to use aluminum or medal scrappers to remove ice in the winter. They can put scratches in the glass that are unsightly and can cause a lose of visibility.