Know Which Car Window to Break to Escape and Survive Sinking or Fiery Car

Extricating yourself from a submerged vehicle can only be possible if you know which window to break 6 photos
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A new report by automotive organization AAA highlights all the tools necessary, as well as the details you must know in order to successfully break out of your car in case of an emergency.
One detail that could spell the difference between life and death is knowing what type of glass is in the windows of your car. As the latest Good Morning America (GMA) segment on ABC (also available at the bottom of the page) shows, not many car owners know it.

In the report, “Vehicle Escape Tool Evaluation,” AAA notes that, in case of a fire or if the vehicle is suddenly submerged in a body of water, escaping through the window could be made impossible by the glass. As of now, there are two types of glass put into cars: laminated glass, which federal safety standards have made mandatory in windshields, and tempered glass, which is still found in most rear side windows and some front side windows.

Knowing what type of glass you have in your own car is vital, because laminated glass doesn’t break. It’s designed not to, to lower the chances of occupant ejections in the case of high-speed collisions. In other words, if your car catches fire or goes underwater, and you try breaking the side window made of laminated glass, you might perish in the effort. It won’t break, no matter what tools you use.

On the other hand, tempered glass breaks into pieces but will not shatter completely. In this case, tools like Lifehammer and resqme could come in handy, as GMA set out to show, with some help from Sargent Chris Lambert with the Indiana State Police.

“To improve safety, more vehicles are being equipped with laminated side windows – but a majority also have at least one window made of tempered glass,” John Nielsen, managing director of automotive engineering and repair for AAA, says of the findings of the research.

“Our research found that generally vehicle escape tools can be effective in an emergency, but only if drivers know what type of side windows they have, otherwise they could waste precious seconds trying to break glass that will not shatter,” Nielsen adds.

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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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