How to Break a Car Window in Case of Emergency
An Action Hero Life Hack
You're pinned in a back alley by half a dozen goons who have your wife and daughter in the back of their black SUV. You wait for a lull in the hail of bullets, then step out and put one round in each of them. Just as the last bad guy is going down, his gun goes off, and sparks from the bullet set the car on fire. You're out of ammo and your family is trapped in the burning vehicle. You've got to think quick. Yes you could snatch up a fallen weapon and shoot out the window, but if you want to make sure those inside are kept safe, you need to dig a little deeper into your bag of tricks.
For instance, do you have a ninja rock?
What's a Ninja Rock?
In common parlance, a ninja rock is a small chip of aluminum oxide ceramic, which is about the size of your pinky fingernail. You'll get a few of them if you take a hammer to a spark plug. Once you've got a sharp little shard, just throw it at the side window of a car, and it shatters like sugar glass. An impressive trick, given that car windows are meant to absorb some pretty hefty impacts. These little chips have been a trade secret of car thieves, as well as smash-and-grab artists, at least since 2001.
Why does it work? Because science, that's why. You see the glass in the side windows of a car is strong, but it's meant to shatter as soon as it's pierced so that people can get out of a wreck. So you don't need to smash the entire window, because as soon as you pierce one part the rest tumbles right out. These chips of aluminum oxide ceramic focus impact in a way that other materials simply don't, turning a little pebble into a weapon worthy of James Bond, Jason Bourne, or the Batman himself.
If you want to see a ninja rock in action check out the video above. If you don't happen to have a few sharp shards on hand when you need them, though, that's okay. You've got other options.
Do You Have a Car Antennae?
It's a rhetorical question; of course you have an antennae, because as we've already stated, there's a car right there. If you can remove the radio antenna, then you can break out the back window with relative ease.
What you need to do is lay the heavy end of the antenna against the rear corner of the window just like in the above video, pull back the hammer, and let the spring in the antenna do the rest. It might take a try or two, but the antenna will deliver more than enough force to smash the window so you can get inside without breaking every bone in your hand, or shattering your ankle on a bad kick.
What Do You Do If You're the One Trapped in the Car?
If you're the one who got captured and locked inside a car, then you've got a serious problem on your hands. So let's make it worse by saying you're in a locked car that's been driven off a pier, and is rapidly sinking. To make it worse you're in a rental with stuck windows, so there's not even a hope of an old wrench or prybar just floating around in your back seat. As long as you can pull your headrest out of the seat, you should be able to pop that glass out in a jiffy.
No, no, not like that. The operative word here is pop, not smash, for a reason. What you do is jam one of the metal spikes from the headrest down past the seal of the widow. You then pull it toward you. This force bows out the window and compromises the glass. Once that's happened, as you can see in the above video (even if you don't speak Japanese) it's easy to climb right out of your sinking vehicle.
Why Can't I Just Punch It Out?
Remember the scene in The Terminator where the cyborg assassin from the future smashed through the windshield, and it really freaked everyone out? That's because while it might be possible to punch through a car window, it's very likely that people who do so will break every bone in their hand. Even professional fighters can't overcome the strength this glass is manufactured for without injury.
That said, if you're going to constantly be breaking out auto glass, it's a good idea to keep a couple of firefighter tools on your person. There are handheld devices which use springs to smash out glass with a single movement, and even folding knives with window breakers in the hilt which can be used to effectively hammer out a pane in an emergency. They might not be as much fun as a claw hammer or a crow bar, but these tools get the job done without earning you any funny looks while you're off-camera buying groceries or taking a walk in the park. Even better, they usually fit in your pocket, or on a key ring, so you have them when you need them.
Interested in More Badass Life Hacks?
If you're looking for more life hacks for the everyday action hero, like How To Kick In A Door, How To Knock Someone Out With One Punch, or even How To Get Out of Handcuffs, Flexicuffs, and Duct Tape, then check out my full Vocal archive!