FOR B-ROLL, CLICK HERE.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (July 16, 2019) – AAA recently reviewed an array of vehicle escape tools to determine which is most effective in quickly breaking passengers out of their cars. The studyfound that most escape tools will break tempered side windows, but none of the tools reviewed were able to break laminated glass – which is becoming more popular in newer vehicles.
Of the six tools studied, three were spring-loaded and three were hammer style. The spring-loaded tools were determined to be the most effective in breaking tempered windows than the hammer-style, though none of the tools were able to break the laminated windows.
For a video of escaping a vehicle with the escape tools, click here.
To improve safety, more vehicles are being equipped with the difficult to penetrate laminated side windows (about 1 in 3 2018 models have them). This is in an effort to reduce the number of passengers ejected from a vehicle in the event of a crash. 21,400 people were thrown from their vehicle in a crash in 2017, resulting in 11,200 injuries and 5,052 deaths – which makes a stronger glass window a greater need than a window that is easy to break. But for those times when a vehicle catches fire or is submerged in water, AAA wants passengers to be able to escape – no matter the window type.
“The good news is that almost all vehicles that are equipped with laminated side windows will also have at least one window made of tempered glass, which is easier to break,” said Tiffany Wright, AAA Carolinas spokesperson. “For that reason, it is important that drivers and passengers know which type of windows they have, and which window is tempered glass in case of emergency.”
Drivers can determine the type of glass installed on their vehicle by first checking for a label located in the bottom corner of the side window, which should clearly indicate whether the glass is tempered or laminated. If this information is not included or there is no label at all, AAA advises contacting the vehicle manufacturer. It is also important to note that some vehicles are outfitted with different glass at varying locations in the car (i.e. tempered glass on rear side windows versus laminated on front side windows).
Vehicle escape tools come in many varieties, but AAA suggests avoiding tools with extra features such as lights or chargers since these functions do not improve the performance of the tool itself. Drivers should also remember that in the event their vehicle is submerged, a hammer-style escape tool (as opposed to a spring-loaded-style) will be ineffective underwater.
If trapped in a vehicle, remember there is a S-U-R-E way out (for video click here):