Cars may look cooler with small windows, but might be less safe

Of course, when it comes down to it, what matters most in a car is its ability to keep its occupants alive and safe in the event of a car accident. While new cars are getting improved materials and designs every year, it is apparent that, in some cases, cutting-edge design may interfere with safety because of decreased visibility.

In fact, the two concepts may go hand in hand. Designers of autos are constantly trying to update their products to maximize cabin space, increase the trunk size, and make their vehicles more aerodynamic and fuel-efficient. In practice, this means that windows are often shrunken and poorly placed, so that drivers might not be easily to see during some everyday tasks such as backing up or looking up at a traffic signal.

Another factor in making vehicles more fuel-efficient is their weight. Composite materials can be lighter and yet stronger when it comes to the body of the car; however, auto glass — still an essential component of vehicles for years to come — is relatively heavy. One solution to this issue is to reduce the size of windows, therefore requiring less glass. It isn’t apparent yet what the proper balance between fuel efficiency and safety is.

Source: The Detroit News, “Some new vehicles have bigger blind spots,” Melissa Burden, Aug. 27, 2013