When it comes to a vehicle, not everyone likes a roof over their head. Convertibles were phased out in the late-’60s and early-’70s because they were structurally unsafe. Subsequently, T-tops, sunroofs, removable tops, and panoramic roofs have been employed. As with the ragtop convertible, these generally make the vehicle feel less claustrophobic or let occupants feel the wind go through their hair.
These later iterations are considerably more structurally sound, but thousands die each year in rollovers. Government testers still check each vehicle model, identifying structural weakness and mass production does not compromise production safety. Strong roofs prevent the structure from collapsing, which prevents windshields and windows from breaking. If roof windows do crack, manufacturers are increasingly using windshield-like laminated glass, which cracks rather than shatters.
Are these open roofs safe?
The exterior is less important than all modern vehicles’ so-called “cage,” box or frame. This reinforced structure is most crucial for protecting occupants. Internal pillars maintain the roof’s structural integrity, ensuring that it does not collapse even if there is a panoramic roof or sunroof. There are also crush zones on the exterior corners are designed to absorb the collision, reducing the impact on the structure and occupants.
The use of a seatbelt is essential
Safety belts serve many essential roles for the occupants. The seatbelts keep the driver and passengers in the car and strapped to their seat even if the vehicle rolls over. They also keep them in place, so the deployed airbags are most effective.
Some cars are safer than others
Not all cars use the latest glass technology, extensively deployed airbags, or are engineered to provide optimum protection. It is the less safe or older vehicles where there is a greater likelihood of severe or life-changing injuries. Regardless of the vehicle’s safety record, a negligent driver who causes the rollover can still be held accountable for their actions. Victims or their families often do this by filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.