Little Details

A Fact-Checking Community for Writers

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
effects of punching a car window
donutgirl wrote in little_details
Where: America
When: today

Google search: window+punch+hand+injury

My google search turned up a number of articles in medical journals about so-called "boxer's fracture" and other related injuries. But those were all collected from people who were hurt seriously enough to bother going to the hospital. What I need to know is if it's possible to punch a car window and *not* sustain any serious injury. Obviously, even if that is possible, those incidents will be underrepresented in medical journals, so I'm mostly looking for personal experiences.

More info: my character is a 16 yr old male, sober, who punches a side window of a car with his bare fist. His fist does not penetrate completely -- he basically just cracks the glass, causing it to crackle and eventually (when he slams the door, later) fall out of the frame.

Is it possible/believable that he would bloody his knuckles with this punch, but not need any greater medical attention than cleaning out the wounds and slapping on a couple of bandaids?

Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>
I had a boyfriend who used to punch stop signs hard enough to dent them, among other things (mail boxes, trees, oak staircases, etc... tempermental ***). He never needed medical attention (psychiatric wouldn't have gone far wrong). He did, however, break his knuckles and split the skin open, repeatedly. He just bandaged up and went on.

Interesting. What happens when you break your knuckles and don't seek medical attention? Does it create longterm problems? Would it deform your hand visibly? What did his hand generally look like the day after? bruising, cuts, anything else?

I once put my hand through a regular house window (which I think are a bit more fragile than car windows); I slit part of my thumb open, which scarred and bled quite a bit, but I didn't need stitches. So I would find it utterly believable.

I'm not convinced it's possible to punch a car window and break it. In case of emergencies they recommend carrying a centrepunch or something since they're designed *not* to break. And if they do break they shatter into little pebbly bits rather than anything sharp. The glass used in car windows is not at all like normal window glass. And the force that would be needed to break the window even if he did manage it (which unless he's a teenage version of Mike Tyson I don't think is possible) he would break his hand *especially* if he only cracked it as you say. The only way to hit something that hard and not break bones (as the martial artists who break cinderblocks and such will tell you) is to go clean through. If you can punch all the way through and avoid a sudden stop you might get away with a minor injury but if you hit it and don't break it the sudden stop of the impact will cause you to break bones.

Well, it is possible to break a car window with your fist, because I know someone who did it -- granted, he was on PCP at the time. Unfortunately, I'm not sure what injuries he sustained the next day, which is why I posed the question.

I know car windows can crackle, and then later break, because that happened to mine when it was shot with what I think was a BB. I wouldn't have thought a BB would do it, but I guess maybe if you hit the sweet spot. I'm not sure how the force of a BB compares to that of a fist, though.

punching car window (Anonymous) Expand
:) (Anonymous) Expand
its possible (Anonymous) Expand
When I was in middle school, a young man was rear ended while at a intersection outside the school. Due to this being the third time it had happened to him, he decided to punch the front windshield of his car. His fist seemed to go through the window, but he may've just cracked it severely in that area. As for injuries, he was quite bloody, but was not majorly injured.

I'm dubious that slamming the door would knock out the remaining glass, since hail storm damaged cars that I've seen have still sometimes kept their shattered glass windows. I'd think that the windows would've had more agitation than slamming a door.

I wonder if you could look up something on car windows and accident safety / breaking and entering. There may be something online about safety glass's limits in a car. (Alternatively, try hail damage and car windows and you may get images to use to describe the window's condition.)

Windshields are different from side glass. I'm not sure if they're harder or easier to break, but I know they're different.

When my side window got hit with a BB, there was nothing but a dent at first -- then the dent turned into a small crackle, which gradually spread through the whole window every time I closed my car door. Within 24 hours (maybe 6 times closing the door), the entire glass was crackled, and on the last slam, a huge chunk of the glass shattered to the ground. Eventually, it all fell out.

One of my friends punched out the driver's side door window of a car (in an attempt to punch the person within). He broke clean through the glass. His first two knuckles were very large and purple the next day, but the skin wasn't broken. He had difficulty opening and closing his fist and I know his hand hurt a lot. He took normal painkillers - ibuprofen, I think. I was surprised he didn't break the skin on his knuckles, but he does punch things quite often, so maybe has thick skin!

His main problem was that as his fist went through the glass a lot of bits of glass ended up in his forearm. He ended up going to hospital for that about a week later, where they re-opened the wounds and dug loads of glass out, but I guess that isn't relevant to your question.

Thank you for the awesome description. Totally useful. :)

I don't know if this is enough to help, since others seemed to have helped more, but I once hit a car windshield hard enough to crack it. (I'm not even very strong, but I did hit it hard.) It didn't shatter, and I only replaced it immediately because it was my dad's car, but it did crack. And I might have done more damage if it had been the side window. Aren't they thinner?

I didn't hurt my hand at all really.

Yes, definitely possible. There was a vandal on my former street who punched about 8 of them in quick succession and didn't seem particularly affected by it.

In regards to one of the above points on nuckle damage over time:

My dad was a bit of a pub brawler back in the day (he was a biker 20-30 years ago) and has since been engaged in work that uses his hands a lot (carpentry, mechanics, gardening etc).

He broke his right nuckle once (famously punching his idiot forman the day before I was born, as he likes to tell every year before my birthday lol) and bruised it many times more. These days it is still functional but can't be fully bent round. He's never had surgery on it but doctors have told him that the joint has been forced back into the carpals (the large 'back of your hand' area). The force carried up his arm and also caused simmilar damage to his wrist which has limited twisting movement now (he has trouble opening doorknobs with that hand). Visually, I don't see a huge difference between his hands- his left being just slightly more rounded but also flatter across the nuckle instead of pointy.

Though the initial injuries were many years ago, these problems have not just manifested with age- he has had them for many years. If your character wants good working hands in the near and far future I would have him seek medical attention as the problems can be for life otherwise.

A friend in high school accidentally punched in the driver's window of a stationary car - he meant to punch the window to scare the driver but his hand went right in and the window broke and fell in. It was safety glass, but he still had cuts on two of his knuckles, but didn't need medical treatment. He was a weedy little guy (and not on any drugs at the time) and we were all very surprised that the window broke. It seemed to crack then, a second later, collapse in.

Awesome, that's terrific (for me). Great story!

There's a running assumption here he's doing it impulsively.

If that's not the case - if he's coldly trying to break in - I have been told (but have not personally confirmed) a better way to do it is this:

1) Cover elbow with leather or several layers of cloth

2) Put elbow against window, with forearm perpendicular to surface.

3) Make fist; rap fist sharply and _hard_ with other hand.

Less flashy ... and much less painful/destructive.

Interesting info! But in fact, everyone guessed correctly -- the character is punching impulsively. (Just saw his girlfriend leave with another guy.)

Well the other day I left my keys in my car and the only sufficient way to get in was through breaking the window. One hard right hook shattered the entire thing but i did get a few cuts. Nothing major though

Thanks for the comment! That was helpful.

(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand

I Punched though a car window before


2008-05-20 07:24 pm (UTC)

I had punched throught a passenger side car window before "I know dumb as shit" but believe it or not the car was moving too. To make a long story short I was going after this kid who had stole over 2000$ from my friends house and his moms jewlery. I didn't even know what i was thinking I just reacted and before I knew it my arm was elbow deep through this car window. It shattered and before i realized what happened my I was spun around by the car and it ahd ripped out a good chunk of my forearm.

I Punched though a car window before


2008-05-20 07:27 pm (UTC)

I had punched throught a passenger side car window before "I know dumb as shit" but believe it or not the car was moving too. To make a long story short I was going after this kid who had stole over 2000$ from my friends house and his moms jewlery. I didn't even know what i was thinking I just reacted and before I knew it my arm was elbow deep through this car window. It shattered and before i realized what happened my I was spun around by the car and it ahd ripped out a good chunk of my forearm. I didn't even know my arm was so messed up until my buddy told me. I had to get rushed to the hospital, I started going into shock by the time I got there. I ended up having to stay in the hospital over night and get surgery the next morning. I had over 275 stitches in my arm. So for thos that say its impossiblt to do it ITS NOT.

Punching out a car window


2008-06-30 02:28 pm (UTC)

Oh it is possible...believe me this just happened last weekend when my friend got sucker punced from behind. To make a long story short the dudes ex girlfriend beat him up before my friend had a chance to get to the time my friend got to the guy he was inside of his car and wouldn't roll his window down so he knocked the driver's side window out with one punch! Hands were slightly bruised with very small cuts......

We are stronger than you think


2009-01-25 07:01 am (UTC)

My joints have been trained to take this sort of abuse more than a normal individuals. From fighting and training to fight, my knuckles, shins, and elbows have all lost a lot of nerve sensation and bones have grown stronger. It took a lot of training but I've come to the point where I can punch a solid tree or brick wall with a good amount of force with no pain at all. It's how I train most of the time so I've grown used to it. Without the training, I wouldn't be able to come even close to what I do now. I obviously don't punch it full force becuase I would most certainly sustain a considerable amount of damage against a tree or brick wall but I believe that a piece of glass wouldn't take much force at all. Even the tempered glass of a car window or windshield wouldn't be able to sustain a medium force hit with the density of a fighter's hand.

Re: We are stronger than you think


2009-01-30 08:32 pm (UTC)

lol you train by punching trees and brick walls? On the other hand I just broke my rear passenger side window of my car by punching it with a leather glove on. The glove did get a little cut up which leads me to believe that you wouldn't want to do this with your bare hand. The glass completely shattered and went all over the car.

I was really pissed off one time and punched through a car front passenger side window with one clean hit. On top of that before I hit the car window I was pounding the ground. Honestly somehow the glass did more damage than the ground, but it could have been because I was punching the ground with less power since I knew it would break ever knuckle. But anyway back to the topic I shattered the glass with one hit like the whole window just caved in like it was nothing. I thought I was good or I just didn't feel the pain yet because of my adrenaline. However soon after I felt something drip on me I look at my hand and it was oozing and squirting blood because it cut a capillary in my thumb. I needed 5 stitches later, and I definitely learned to never punch through any type of glass because that shit is deadly if it hits a vein. Other than that though my knuckles look good there is a few scabs but nothing serious.

About a week ago, my boyfriend was upset with me that i accidentally locked my car with his stuff in it... so he gets frustrated and snaps. he first punched the rear right window (behind the passenger seat) and it didn't break when he first punched it then he did it a second time and glass went everywhere!!

Surprisingly not a scratch on him. No bruises, no broken anything (except my car window), i was shocked! and in tears!
and my mother was shocked as well.
So later that night he came to my house and gave me money to replace it, and the next day it was done.

And yes i still love him after all that. :)
He apologized, i accepted. Done deal.


Cracked Window


2009-11-05 05:50 am (UTC)

When i was younger, I took a hammer to an old car on my lot. The side windows were pretty easy to break. one whack and it shattered then fell instantly. How ever, the front window is actually 2 peaces of untempered glass, with a plastic lining between them. They shattered, and it took about 10 minutes of hamming to finally put a hole through it.the side windows are Tempered. The front/back is untempered with a plastic lining between them. The front and back windows since they web more than break into cubes, it supplies more strength, when backed with plastic. overall. I can see some one elbowing out a side window with less injury than punching it. Punching it seems plausible. I know a kid who punched a window repeatedly and breaking it. and left with cut knuckles. But Chances of a 1-2 Break, Are very low. And Front windshields, and nearly Impervious to any physical Damage from the outside. How ever From the inside, They can actually be kicked out. The main reason for the back lining with plastic is to keep the Shattering and shards flying at the driver/passengers to a low. because it is bonded with the plastic. So to my conclusion.

Side windows, Can be Punched out. less damage taken from Elbowing them.

Front windows Cannot Be Punched out. Same damage taken from Elbowing them.

Weapon of choice for side windows, A Hammer, or crow bar. Preferably something light and small. but you can swing to achieve higher force.

Weapon of choice for Front/back windows, A Siege. A Sledge or Siege would deal Catastrophic Damage to a front/back window. How ever Multiple hits will be needed to break them out.

For more information you can probably also review case records of car thefts. To get inside a locked car for an item. the window is usually broken.

There have been stories of people who break into unlocked cars through the window. because they fail to check to see if its unlocked.

Anyways. I hope my information you find purposeful and sufficient.

I punched out a punks window today.


2009-11-09 12:59 am (UTC)

Okay, Im driving along and at a red light with no more than 1.5 car lengths in front this younger guy (im 33) cut me off bad at the red light for what? So I pulled up next to him in the turn lane and asked "hey little man why did you do that?" he answers, "because I have an Audi and you have a Honda" Okay I am pissed just because that is ridiculous so when the light turns green I cut him off and go? No big deal, well then he wants to race, so stupidly I do and I win hands down, beat him I am not into it I just would let him pass and beat him fair and square.

Well asswipe takes a air freshener the size of a jar of spaghetti sauce and throws it at my car. I pulled up to the next light and they person in front of him saw the whole thing and blocked him in. I got out, yes I got out and before he could haul ass away and I have to call the stupid cops that dont do shit, asked him to get out and why did he throw something at my car? It was because he drives an Audi! SO I walked up to his window and he rolled it up saying "be cool man!" and I said like you throwin shit? and punched the window, I felt it bow in and I then loaded up on it and punched right through.

I am 5'6" 160 lbs with a 31" waist. I learned how to throw a punch and have knocked out or seriously injured anyone I have ever hit. I am the most unassuming guy and people think they can run game on me. Well, I am that guy that will take it all on my shoulders and beat your ass, so yes a small person can break a window and my hand is fine I am typing with no discomfort 3 hours later. I used some packing tape to clean the glass out of my fist and arm and the old hand is none the worse.

If I would have hit him I would have killed him. I offered after I destroyed his window with my bare fist for him to follow me to the police station but he declined and sped off! I would only say that we both learned a lesson, I can still crush you if you dont have a gun or a knife and he will not throw shit at anyone else ever again.

I win today.



2010-01-04 12:59 am (UTC)

got completely wasted the other night and punched some guys window out as he was driving away from the bar. cut a nerve in my hand and got 16 stitches. my advice: dont punch windows

Re: stitches


2010-02-09 02:12 am (UTC)

I am emberassed to say that I have done this before. I was driving from a party when two guys strarted to talk sh** to my friend and me. I stopped my car and said a few things to the guys who were taunting us and punched my windshield (from the inside) to show them that I was serious. Unfortunately my entire windshield cracked into a semi-spiderweb configuration and I had to replace it for $240.00 the next day. "Pretty ingenious meat-head" I have boxed for several years so my hands are able to take more abuse than most people and when you learn to snap a punch you can do a lot more damage with little resulting damage to yourself. My hand was not hurt at all, so obviously this is completely possible. Hope it helps.



2010-06-23 09:38 pm (UTC)

i punched my car window i am 14 i hit it with a little bit of force i got to admit but this guy though it was funny to swear at me in the car so i punched the window screen in in the middle pooed him up and i had a piece of glass stuck in my right first knuckle i pulled it out and bllod went everywere i lifted it up and day later ( today) it is fine but the cut was 1.6 cm deep and i din't have to have stitches thank god

punching windows


2010-08-13 10:41 am (UTC)

Yo my names gabriel but I got by butterz and I live in a small town called firebaugh. I'm 17 and I got into a fight and later that night got mad and pucnhed my astro van back window, I dnt kno how strong windows are but I think they're suppose to be kinda strong but I pucnhed it and completly shattered it. The edges were the only thing left. I got a scar but no injury. It didn't hurt. And yes I was sober, I never drank in my life or anything.

Punching Windows


2011-12-02 05:38 am (UTC)

It actually happened to me this morning...I was trying to find a parking spot in a parking deck and every time i found one someone was already there to take it. I finally found one when this person came in and just took it even though I was clearly there I kinda took it out on my window. I never thought it would actually break but it completely shattered.

No major injuries just a few cuts and some bleeding but no need for medical attention.

I know dumb reason but it happened.

I have punched my drivers car window out after my fiance left me for her x and aborted my kid
The way you described it cant happen you dont crack side windows they just break its tempered glass whitch when it breaks the hole thing is in very tinny pieces as to not slice you up severly there is no large shards left and it wont just crack if the hit gets it to that point it shatters
I got some gashes doing this but nothing to go to the hospital over
The way it works hiting something like that is if it breaks the impact carrys threw and no real damage is recieved by you
But if you hit it and dont break it the impact backfeeds into your hand and if it was a good hit will break your hand as its taking that full impact
Im not sute if this strength is normal or if it was the adrenalin push that gave me the boost of strength to be able to punch threw it

Its more then possible to break a car window with your bare fist and not sustain any injury.

I have personally witnessed my buddy in a drunk rage punch cleanly through a car window and not sustain any injury.
Of course he was drunk and this was part of the equation, but the point is yes it can be done, very easily.

Its like in football how you hit harder because you have pads, you just have to actually believe you can do it, thus your muscles will fire off with complete solidity and smash right through, no problem.

Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>

Log in