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When struck toughened glass breaks into thousands of piecesthan half of these are never recovered
If you're in the market for a new car then you might want to ask the dealer whether the specification includes fitment of security glazing – specially designed glass that prevents opportunist 'smash & grab' attacks on your belongings. It reduces noise and blocks UV light as well.
For the thief with his eye on valuables in your car, glass might as well not be there. In only a few seconds and with little noise he can smash the glass, take what he wants and be away.
The windscreen must be made of laminated glass, but all other car windows are generally made from toughened safety glass. When struck - particularly with a sharp object - toughened glass breaks into thousands of pieces. The fragments are smooth and won't cut because it's safety glass.
Glassmakers have developed a special type of laminated glass that can be used for side windows.
The new glass, called security glazing, impact-resistant glazing or Enhanced Protection Glazing (EPG) is now being fitted as standard or an option on more and more cars.
EPG is potentially the most significant development since the introduction of the immobiliser. We hope that manufacturers will offer this glass as standard across more and more model ranges.
Offered by some manufacturers as an alternative to secure glazing, this is a plastic sheet, possibly tinted, that's applied to the inside surface of car windows. The glass can still be broken, but it is more difficult to remove as the film holds it intact. We have concerns about safety, durability and vision.
The original car glass is required, for type approval, to pass a range of strength, durability and optical tests including light transmission, abrasion resistance, optical distortion and secondary image.
Applying a plastic film to the inside of the glass reduces light transmission.
We're concerned that the film will become scuffed, especially when the windows are opened.
We can't recommend security film until a suitable material meets the right safety standards as well as providing security benefits.
(updated 4 May 2012)
We can repair most small chips rather than replace the whole windscreen. These repairs would normally be free of charge, as your insurance company will often cover the costs. It shouldn't affect your no-claims bonus either.