How often do you think American drivers are involved in accidents where their vehicles burst into flames or get stuck underwater? Most reports estimate that car fires and vehicle submersions are about as rare as they are unsettling. One law firm claims that these types of incidents make up less than 1% of all car accidents in the U.S.
It may be unlikely that you’ll ever end up in a car that is burning or submerged, but it’s not impossible. In Florida, more than 50 people drown in their vehicles annually. So how does laminated glass fit into the picture? Put simply, the material is making the premise of being trapped in your car increasingly dangerous.
Let’s take a look at some recent events to better understand the hidden dangers of laminated car glass and why motorists should be aware of its impact on their safety.
A Looming Threat
In July 2017, Florida news channel WTSP reported on a Tampa motorist who landed her car in a pond after experiencing a medical episode. Two bystanders came to her rescue and helped the driver escape alive. They were able to get her out because she had her windows down.
A few months earlier, CCD Law posted about a case where a Spokane woman was trapped inside a burning car with laminated glass windows. A nearby officer attempted to break the vehicle’s side window with his baton. After struggling for almost two minutes, he finally managed to break the glass and free the driver.
In both cases, the motorists survived thanks to the rare circumstances of their situations, but not all who are involved in these types of incidents are so lucky. If either driver didn’t receive help from outside and their laminated glass windows were closed, their chances of escaping might have been significantly lower.
Why Laminated Glass Usage is Increasing
In order to understand what makes laminated glass so dangerous, let’s take a look at why it’s being used in the first place. In the past, side windows were typically made of temperate glass. It was only a car’s windshield that was made of the thicker laminated glass. In terms of safety, this makes perfect sense.
Unlike temperate glass, laminated glass is made of two layers that are joined together by a plastic sheet. Laminated glass has numerous advantages, including UV ray protection, noise reduction and security. For these reasons, lawmakers and road safety organizations are pushing manufacturers toincrease their use of the material.
The Dangers of Laminated Glass
Laminated glass is clearly beneficial to driver safety. It can prove life-saving in many common situations. The only problem is that it’s extremely difficult to break when it needs to be broken. As a result, emergency response teams had to develop new training programs and find suitable tools to overcome this challenge.
Being prepared will ensure that you can safely escape a car with laminated glass windows when there is no nearby help. Ask your fire department about the appropriate tools and remember to quickly remove your seatbelt and roll down your windows.