Broken Windshield

Why would I break the glass on a vehicle I just bought?

Broken windshields: Recently I had some first hand experience on this topic.  Let me first introduce myself and a little background about my automotive experience.   I own and operate RVA Glass, a mobile auto glass shop. I have worked on cars for over 26 years and have operated my glass business for the past five years.  I am familiar with the inner workings of vehicle auto glass and the different types of glass.  

I recently purchased a 1996 Bronco for a restoration project.  The vehicle has power windows and door locks as well as vent windows that open on the driver and passenger side door.  The rear glass moves up and down with an electric motor and window regulator. When I purchased the vehicle the seller told me the passenger door does not open from inside or outside and the driver door only opens from the outside latch.  The vehicle also needs a new battery. 

One Saturday night I was at home working on another vehicle in my garage and decided to move the Bronco.  It was after dark. All windows on the Bronco had been up so it was fairly warm that August night. My faithful dog always thinks I am going somewhere if a vehicle starts so I let her hop in the Bronco even though we were just moving the vehicle around the back yard.   I got in and slammed the door shut. I turned the key and nothing happened. Instantly I realized I was trapped when I tried to open the door and recalled the previous owner telling me the inside door handle doesn’t work. I essentially just locked myself and dog into a vehicle with the windows up.  Since the car battery was completely dead I had no way to roll down the windows. 

Since my plan was to simply move the Bronco around the yard I left my cell phone in the garage.  I began to go through my options for my escape. The only thing I had with me was a small black flashlight.  I first tried to open the front driver side vent window and reach the outside door latch. Unfortunately my arms were not long enough to reach the handle no matter how hard I tried.  

The Bronco needs a windshield but it is not an easy task to kick out a windshield, especially in shorts.  I would have cut my legs to pieces trying to kick through the layers. The windshield has an outer layer of glass, an inter-layer of PVC laminate and an inner layer of glass.  Windshields are meant to stay together when broken so the glass does not injure the drive or passengers. Tempered glass is hard and tough but breaks into many pieces when shattered.

Breaking the driver side door glass.

All the other glass on the Bronco are tempered glass.  Kicking a tempered glass out can be done but takes much force and could cause severe cuts on the leg.  I decided to try and use the flashlight to bust out the driver side door glass. I eventually broke the glass after a few strikes.  This ended up being better than a broken windshield.

On Star and cell phones are great but when you only have seconds to escape you need a faster option.  This incident got me thinking about all sorts of scary scenarios. Imagine being trapped in your car in water with no way to roll down or break the window.  They make a tool that emergency responders carry that is readily available to the public. Here is an example of a glass breaking tool and seat belt cutter 2 in 1 tool.

We always want our customers to be as safe as possible. Please stay safe and be prepared!

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