Do Sunroofs or Moonroofs Make Cars Less Safe?

Do Sunroofs or Moonroofs Make Cars Less Safe?If you are thinking about buying a vehicle with a sunroof or moonroof, there is a good chance that you are wondering whether they affect safety. Having a large window or opening above your head typically seems less safe – but the truth is that in most scenarios, you face no additional risks from having a sunroof or moonroof.

How do sunroofs and moonroofs affect a car’s structural integrity?

When it comes to the structure and manufacturing of sunroofs and moonroofs in vehicles, engineers are trained to ensure that they meet the necessary safety performance standards. Therefore, they implement and follow certain steps to protect the people who buy their vehicles from the most uncommon and common accidents and collisions that may occur. An article published in Consumer Reports explains that all new and modern cars “are put through rigorous testing to meet federal safety standards.” This means that the federal government examines vehicles to find out whether there are any types of weaknesses or impairments that need to be improved or fixed as well as conducts inspections to make sure that each part, including roofs, meets specific criteria to protect drivers and passengers.

As a result, the government has determined that “the effect of a sunroof is insignificant to the overall strength of the roof.” The roof of your car is made of very strong and sturdy steel, which surrounds the sunroof and ensures your safety. As a matter of fact, the article points out that “the high-strength steel used in pillars that hold up the roof—called A, B, C, and D pillars, based on their location—is where the energy is being absorbed in a crash—not the center of the roof.”

Does a sunroof or moonroof increase the risk of being ejected during a rollover car accident?

If your sunroof or moonroof is open, and you are not wearing your seatbelt (or the belt fails to stay locked), there is the possibility that your risk of being ejected during a rollover accident could increase. This risk is similar to the risk of being ejected from your car’s window.

What if the roof glass cracks or breaks during the rollover accident?

Again, your risk of ejection in a rollover – even if the roof is closed by the glass breaks – is very low. You also have an even lower risk of being injured by the roof glass itself. Most car manufacturers use laminated glass to create a sunroof or moonroof, which is the same exact type of glass that is used on your windshield.

According to, laminated glass is one of the safest types of glass to use in vehicles as “it is basically like a glass sandwich – two pieces of glass held together by a middle layer of polyvinyl.” This means that if your sunroof or moonroof glass breaks or shatters, it will typically remain together until repaired. The real risk of injury comes from your side windows, which use a different type of glass that is designed to shatter on impact.

What can I do to reduce my chances of being injured in a rollover crash?

The number one thing you should do is wear your seat belt. The NHTSA states that “buckling up helps keep you safe and secure inside your vehicle, whereas not buckling up can result in being totally ejected from the vehicle in a crash, which is almost always deadly.” If you want to reduce your chances of fatal injuries in any type of collision, you should always ensure that you and your passengers are correctly buckled up before putting the vehicle in drive.

Second, try to secure any items you are carrying, such as purses, bags, toys, etc. In a rollover, those loose items can act as projectiles. By securing as much of your “cargo” as possible, you reduce your risk of injury.

You should also purchase a seat belt cutter/window breaker and keep it in the arm rest of your car; this way, it remains secure but within easy reach. If the vehicle rolls, turn off the engine (if you can) and use the cutter to free yourself, before breaking out a side window; the moonroof or sunroof’s glass can make it difficult to break.

Were you or a loved one injured by your sunroof in a rollover car accident? If so, the Los Angeles product liability lawyers at McNicholas & McNicholas are here to help. While many improvements have been made to ensure that drivers and passengers are safe while riding in a vehicle with a moonroof or sunroof, the reality is that injuries do still happen, which our firm knows and understands. To find out how we can legally assist you with your case, please call our office or submit our contact form to schedule your free virtual consultation today.

Please note that this blog is not to be construed as legal advice. Because every case is fact-specific, you should consult directly with an attorney to obtain legal advice specific to your situation.