Is a halfway-rolled down car window dangerous?
March 24, 2007 2:54 PM   Subscribe

Is a halfway-rolled down car window dangerous?

I remember reading in a book somewhere that a car window, halfway rolled down, is dangerous in an accident. I guess the rationale is was that it would be more likely to amputate/slice when halfway down.

So my two part question is: What book was this in? I think it was a work of fiction, maybe by Chuck Palahniuk. And part two: is it really dangerous, or was he making it up?
posted by IvyMike to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Well car windows from the past few decades will tend to shatter into a powdery substance when they break (safety glass) so I don't think it's something you have to worry about.

If it was in a book it was probably referring to an old car, like pre-67.
posted by dagnyscott at 3:18 PM on March 24, 2007

If anything, it would be more dangerous fully down, as your arm might go flying out the window and be crushed by something, especially in a roll over.
posted by wierdo at 3:20 PM on March 24, 2007

He was making it up.

Side windows are usually made of tempered glass, which is designed to shatter into small pieces precisely to avoid the problem of amputations, etc. In a serious accident, tempered glass provides no more protection than no glass at all, because it will inevitably shatter upon impact.

So, no, there's no increased risk with a half-rolled-down window.

In some high-end cars, laminated glass is used in side windows. Laminated is used in all car windshields. It is Laminated glass is two pieces of glass that sandwich a layer of plastic with elastic properties. When you see a cracked windshield, and wonder why it is still intact, it's because of that plastic later that holds the cracked glass in place. If your side windows were made of laminated glass, and you had the window half-rolled-down, the glass would most likely fold down. There would no risk of amputation from laminated glass in the situation you describe.
posted by jayder at 3:37 PM on March 24, 2007

Best answer: Knew the book just from the title:
Invisible Monsters by (you were correct) Chuck Palahniuk.
posted by comwiz at 3:41 PM on March 24, 2007

i dont have any knowledge as to whether this is true or not, but most of the weird-ass facts that chuck adds to his books are real. he does extensive research for his novels. you should read his non-fiction book of essays, 'stranger than fiction' for more info on his writing methods. amazing writer.
posted by kneelconqueso at 3:51 PM on March 24, 2007

I was in an accident in an '87 Chevy Blazer some years back that resulted in the driver side window shattering and raining glass all over. It was about 2 inches open.

Resulted in lots of tiny shards cutting my face, ear, and eye. If you've never had glass flushed out of your eye you don't know what you're missing...
posted by Octoparrot at 5:42 PM on March 24, 2007

You can find the details on Amazon by searching inside the book for "half-open". It refers to "decapitations", which really makes no sense at all, unless you were very unlucky.
posted by smackfu at 7:11 PM on March 24, 2007

Driving on the highway, the back window was one of those "wing" windows that's hinged. It was open slightly. Big semi passed us, and the pressure difference sucked the window right off the car. No one was hurt, and it has no bearing at all on your question. Just needed to share.
posted by theora55 at 7:19 PM on March 24, 2007

In a severe accident, serious injuries can result from many things. Even airbags can result in serious injuries or even death.
posted by JJ86 at 7:56 AM on March 26, 2007

theora55 -> I'm guessing the triangle of glass was sucked out of its metal frame -- musta got loosened somehow.
posted by Rash at 4:28 PM on March 26, 2007

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