Can 1" hail break a windshield?

I've built a hailcage, but am now wanting to go from a 1/2" square wire mesh to a 1" square wire mesh.

So, anyone break a windshield on 1" stones? I wouldn't think so myself.

Thanks to all who vote or know. :)

BTW, there's sort of two kinds of golf ball sized hail:
A) The kind that go splat when they hit. High liquid % or porous, the nice kind, anyway.
B) The kind that hit the concrete highway and BOUNCE 10' in the air. The bad kind.
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Reactions: Rachel Donoghue
Jan 14, 2011
St. Louis
I don't think vertically-falling 1" hail is capable of breaking a windshield, but 60+mph wind-blown 1" hail or 1" hail hitting a moving vehicle at highway speed probably is enough to break side/rear windows.

I believe this is only an issue affecting side/rear windows AND when hail is coming in from steep angles due to wind or vehicle motion. For that reason, I plan to add a fine mesh layer to the deployable side-facing guards for the side and rear windows. The primary top-facing guards wouldn't need this extra protection (at least I think), because any <=1" hail coming straight down likely won't be moving fast enough to break the windows. A fine mesh is going to increase the already hefty aerodynamic drag problem, so I'm only going to use it in the spots that are most likely to experience sideways-moving hail.

The windshield is more resistant to impacts and wouldn't need this extra protection. When driving through hail 1" or larger, in my experience I usually have to slow down significantly enough that the horizontal component of the trajectory isn't going to add much to the overall impact force.

Side-facing mesh will add some protection against small wind-blown debris as well (gravel, twigs), though that is rarely encountered as often as hail. The May 27, 2001 derecho comes to mind where many vehicles lost windows just from wind-blown gravel.
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Reactions: Rachel Donoghue
Feb 21, 2012
Wichita, KS
I got stuck in some heavy 1" hail in Wichita back in 2012, didn't even come close to breaking my windshield or sunroof. It left some very minor dents in my car, however. Furthermore, in a different vehicle, we've navigated through 1.5" (golfball) hail on a few occasions and haven't had any trouble. Also, the only stones likely to make it through that 1" mesh are probably more like 3/4". Of course, like Dan said, the higher the velocity, the more likely it is to break it.
Apr 5, 2010
Omaha, Nebraska
I've taken 1" up to borderline 1.5" / golf ball with no window damage, just a couple little dents on sensitive areas of the body. The key is to A: Drive slowly as to not add to the speed of the impact, or B: Park your car and wait it out. Also remember that hail usually falls vertically or at a slight angle, so if parked face your most vertical windows toward the direction of the hail (probably your side windows in a car or rear windows in a truck). Hail that is moving mostly sideways is likely smaller than what can damage the windows.
Jan 18, 2015
Tucson, AZ
I was in golf balls earlier this year in heavy winds. No glass damage but plenty of dents to show for it including hood, roof, trunk, and thicker pillars

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May 11, 2014
Fargo, ND
I've had 1.25" hail (the hard bouncy kind) falling nearly vertical (ie. no wind) and with me not moving, it did not shatter the windshield or sunroof. The glass took very tiny nicks in it but nothing near to causing a crack.
Jan 16, 2009
Kansas City
Golf ball sized hail on new vehicle make indentions then hail hits and immediately pops back up so I seriously doubt 1" hail can break a windshield in any case. Now it doesn't take much to break side windows.