We hope that you never have to think about shattering the windshield or side windows in your vehicle. However, unexpected incidents do happen, and in some cases, breaking a window in your car or truck may be necessary to save yourself or someone else from harm.


When you find yourself in an emergency and need to escape your car, you’ll need to know how to break the glass. Below are some suggestions for how to break the glass in case of an emergency without bringing harm to yourself or others in the car.


As always, if you have any questions or would like more tips, feel free to give us a call or send us a message. We care about your safety.

Use the Headrest

If you have no tools inside the car to break the glass, then pull your headrest out of your front or rear seats. Take the metal pegs from the headrest and jam them down inside the area where the window goes up and down inside the door panel.


Once you have them down as far as you can go, you can pull the headrest toward you until the window snaps (it will likely crack up the middle). The glass should then  fall away from the door or, at the very least, be easy to remove with your hands.


If you do end up needing to pull glass away from the window frame, make sure you wrap your hands in cloth first. Take your jacket or another piece of clothing off if you need to. Without a wrap, your hands could easily suffer severe lacerations that could land you in the hospital. 

Use a Piece of Sharp Metal or a Stone

Your vehicle’s side and rear windows are made of tempered glass. The windshield is made of laminated glass, which features two layers of glass with a very thin, translucent sheet of plastic-like material (called polyvinyl butyrate) in between.


Manufacturers design vehicle windows this way to make them resistant to blunt force. So if you try to break a window with your fists, you could end up banging on it all day long and still not shatter it.


If you take a sharp piece of metal or a stone, however, you’ll find that breaking the glass is much easier. Rather than shattering the entire window, a sharp object will concentrate on a tiny area in the window and create small holes or cracks. This method is especially useful if you are trying to rescue a baby or a pet from the car, but you don’t want the glass to harm the victim.

A Claw Hammer

A claw hammer is an excellent example of something that is heavy and sharp. Breaking the glass with this type of tool will be relatively easy. There is a catch, though. If you use heavy metal to break a glass, you should go around the edges of the window, where the glass is weakest.


Manufacturers assume that in a collision or impact, the center of a windshield or auto glass is the most vulnerable point. Therefore, they reinforce the glass in the middle. The surface is at weakest on the edges where the glass is most likely to chip, crack or break.


If you start around the edges and then work your way toward the middle of the window, the entire sheet of glass should shatter eventually.

Use Your Foot

If you don’t have access to anything super solid, heavy, or sharp that you can use to bang on the glass, use your foot as a last resort. But you should only take this route if you’re wearing solid shoes (preferably ones with thick soles) and pants that can protect your ankle and lower leg from lacerations. 


Since your legs are considerably stronger than your arms, you’ll likely have better luck breaking any type of vehicle window by kicking it, whether you’re outside the vehicle or in it.


If you’re trying to rescue someone from a hot car, make sure you choose the window that’s farthest away from where they are sitting. Chances are you’ll shatter the glass by ramming it with your foot, so you’ll want to do your very best to prevent shards from flying toward the vehicle occupant.

Need Auto Glass Replacement in the Twin Cities?

If you find that you have to shatter an auto glass for any reason, bring your vehicle to Only 1 Auto Glass for replacement service. We can fully restore your windshield and help you file a claim with your insurance company. We specialize in auto glass and windshield replacement, auto glass repair, and rock chip repair and have several locations throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul area for convenience.


To schedule service or get a free estimate, call us at 651-789-1111. You can also request an estimate online or message us with any questions or concerns, and we’ll get in touch.