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The incredible disappearing glass: new cars have less sightlines

Safety features in motor vehicles have been a regular feature on this blog. Just a couple of weeks ago, we talked about a bevy of new safety features that are making it easier for drivers to stay safe in case of an accident; and in some cases, avoid an accident altogether thanks to some of these technological improvements.

However, things aren't completely rosy on the safety side of automobiles. Drivers still need to handle their vehicle with care, otherwise these safety and technological improvements mean nothing. In addition, the manufacturers of automobiles and vehicle parts need to make sure they are producing high quality equipment that is not defective or faulty; otherwise, the systems drivers now depend on may give them an unsafe idea of their position on the road. 

There's one other aspect to the movement for safer cars and improved vehicle technology that many Bozeman residents may not have considered: the shrinking view drivers have of the road.

According to Consumer Reports, newer vehicles are sporting less and less glass on them. As a result, drivers have larger blind spots and less of a chance of seeing someone passing by them. However, this is offset by new technology and safety equipment. Rearview cameras make it easy for drivers to see what is going on behind them when they back up. And much of the newer vehicles' bulky framework houses air bags that protect passengers in case of an accident.

Another key factor in the reduced glass on cars is that auto makers are under a mandate to make newer cars extremely fuel efficient. Thus, a heavy material like glass gets cut from the design.

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

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