AAA research recently determined that tools designed to help you break a window and escape a crash are unable to break laminated side windows—an innovation that about a third of 2018 models use. The research demonstrates the importance of knowing which type of side window glass your vehicle has and keeping a car escape tool handy.
How to know your type of glass
Most vehicle side windows are made from tempered glass, which shatters into small pieces when broken. But an increasing number of vehicles come with laminated side window glass—the same type used in windshields—which is stronger, quieter and much more difficult to break. Laminated glass is becoming more common to help prevent people from being ejected in high-speed collisions, which occur much more frequently than vehicles catching fire or becoming submerged in water.
You can determine the type of glass on your vehicle by checking a label in the bottom corner of your side windows—it should clearly indicate whether the glass is tempered or laminated. If you can’t find the label or this info isn’t included, contact your vehicle manufacturer. AAA has also compiled a list of vehicles with laminated glass.
Keep in mind that your car may have different types of glass in different locations (such as tempered glass on rear side windows and laminated glass on front side windows). If your car has at least one tempered window, this is the best point of exit in an emergency.
What to know when looking for a car escape tool