Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Laminated safety glass in use on side windows

Carmakers now using laminated safety glass in  side windows

In 2020 the Department of Transportation Ejection Mitigation mandate went into effect requiring carmakers to improve vehicle design to prevent the driver and passengers from being ejected in the event of a crash. In response, many carmakers are switching to laminated safety glass on side windows. Some carmakers started installing laminated safety glass in side windows and by 2018, almost a third of all new vehicles had laminated safety glass in side windows.

Why safety glass in side windows?

Until the rule change, carmakers used tempered glass in side windows. However, studies show that a change was needed to reduce driver and passenger fatalities due to ejection from the side windows, particularly during rollover crashes. In fatality studies, NHTSA said in 2011 that passengers are 64 percent less likely to die if they aren’t completely ejected in a crash

Carmakers are redesigning side impact air bag curtains to make them so they cover more of the window opening. In addition, the airbags will be made more robust to remain inflated longer. The triggering will deploy side curtain airbags in both side impacts and in rollovers. Further, after they’ve deployed, the curtains will remain tethered near the base of the vehicle’s pillars.

What does side window safety glass mean for you?

It means that it’s much harder to break in an emergency. In fact, most can’t be broken by the punch tools currently being sold specifically to break auto glass. Hammers and blunt objects probably won’t work underwater due to force of water against the laminated glass. If you can’t break your side windows, move to where the largest air pocket is located (usually in the back seat because the front usually sinks first).

Wait until the car is fully submerged and the water pressure has equalized. Then try opening the door. If you can’t open the door, try breaking the glass

First responders are currently equipping their rigs with new tools designed to cut through laminated safety glass in side windows.

Besides safety, any upside to safety glass?

It’s quieter than standard tempered glass, so it’s also a cost-effective way for automakers to reduce noise without installing foam and other sound-deadening material within the vehicle chassis.

Laminated windows also make it much tougher for car thieves to commit “smash and grab” crimes.

©, 2022 Rick Muscoplat


Posted on by Rick Muscoplat

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