Found on some new vehicles and luxury models, panoramic sunroof may hide pros and cons you should consider beforehand.
Panoramic sunroofs have become a common and desirable feature on new cars and SUVs, with the expansive glass making them feel more spacious and appealing as well. The issue with this feature goes beyond aesthetic aspects since safety concerns raise more questions than answers and it is fair to ask whether these glass roofs are safe in rollover collisions.
When a car is build, engineers use stringent performance standards and testings bearing the structural integrity of the vehicle. Car safeguards are created and developed to protect passengers from diverse crash situations. Car companies and governments inspect car models with crash tests designed to identify possible structural weaknesses and verify that all vehicles provide a specified level of protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also rates vehicles for roof strength as part of its vehicle ratings.
That said, local governments along with insurance companies (and other industry related companies) conduct crash-test site research and its results have shown that the effect of a sunroof is insignificant to the overall strength of the roof. The structure of a car consists of a strong steel frame wrapped by relatively thin metal panels. Moreover, that steel frame is what is helping passengers to be safe. The high-strength steel used in the pillars that hold up the roof (called A, B, C, and D pillars) play a crucial role in a crash because that’s where the actual crash energy will be absorbed, not in the center of the roof as it initially may appear.
During a crash, passenger ejection is more likely the greater danger. The most important thing you can do to prevent it is to make sure that you and all passengers are wearing a seat belt at all times while the car is moving. This keeps everyone safe and sound, allowing the “all mighty” airbags and crash zones to do their job. Data from the NHTSA shows that unbelted passengers are 10 times more likely to be ejected from a vehicle during a crash. Another concern in a crash is broken glass. Better roofs use laminated glass—like a windshield, it is made up of different layers—so the glass holds together when impacted or crashed likewise. With other glass types, the glass crumbles after impact, rather than becoming sharp shards.
Finally, modern cars are put through rigorous testing repeatedly to meet federal safety standards. Every buyer should feel assured that the industry do everything on its hands to get things “on pointe”. Still, if you consider that sleek panoramic view as the go –to feature for you, do your research and make sure the car model has good safety ratings and identify that the roof is made from laminated glass. And most important, make sure to buckle up before you take over the steering wheel, just as the old saying “safety first”.
Photo by Hyundaius.com