Breaking auto glass is one of those skills not best confirmed (or learned) during an emergency. In most cases, there’s not enough time to learn by trial and error and eventually get it right. Below are some useful tips on how to break auto glass in an emergency.
The info below is assuming you do not have an emergency tool handy.
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1. The closest side window is commonly the best option.
The quickest way out will often be the closest window, and the side windows are much preferred to windshields or rear windows, as they are made from sheets of annealed glass bonded to transparent plastic in most cases. They are designed to hold together instead of sending shards flying everywhere.
2. Find a hard object with a point, such as the handle of your pocket knife.
A pointed object is required to break the glass used in the side windows of modern cars. Using the pointiest metal object you can find, and strike the window with as much force as possible. Keep in mind that auto glass is made to withstand blunt forces as to not crack if bumped into, but the focused energy and force from a pointed object should do the job.
3. Strike off center.
Just as auto glass is designed not to crack if bumped into, the glass is curved to sustain blunt force in the center. This YouTube video demonstrates just how fast tempered glass will break when you strike the edges.