Please explain car windows

RACV RoyalAuto magazine

Broken glass on a car window

The glass in your car is a very specialised beast, a world away from the windows in a house. It has to be designed so that in a crash it breaks in a way that’s as safe and predictable as possible.

Not every window in the car has the same kind of glass. Laminated glass, used mainly on the front windscreen, is essentially a sheet of thin stretchy plastic sandwiched between two layers of glass. The idea is that if the glass is cracked the plastic layer will stop bits of glass from flying around dangerously. The glass itself is also treated so that it breaks into small pieces to provide further protection.

The other type is toughened glass, which is normally found on side and rear windows. It has processes applied that make it very strong and resistant to damage. However when it does break it shatters (sometimes quite spectacularly) into tiny pellets which are much safer than the large jagged pieces typical of a normal window breaking.

Nick Platt