How to Spot an Armored Vehicle on the Road

The image of an armored vehicle may come to mind as a dark, bulky tank-like machine. However, not all armored vehicles fit this stereotype. They may look like any other car or truck on the surface but have an impressive array of protective measures beneath the exterior. From bulletproof glass to reinforced steel plating, these vehicles can withstand attacks from firearms and explosives.

So, how can you spot an armored vehicle on the road? There are telltale signs to look out for.

Less Bounce, More Weight

Armored vehicles have reinforced suspensions to support the vehicle’s armor plating. These heavy-duty suspensions allow the handling of the added weight without compromising performance. This means that they will have less bounce and a notably stiffer suspension. You might not be able to spot this from just a passing glance. But if you notice the vehicle driving smoothly even on rough terrain, it could be a hint that it’s armored.

Heavy-Duty Steel Frame

Regular cars have a steel frame, but armored vehicles have an upgraded frame. This thicker, heavy-duty frame supports the added weight of armor plating without compromising the vehicle’s structural integrity. It also helps protect against explosive devices and ballistic attacks. It’s likely that you won’t be able to spot this feature just by looking at the vehicle but keep an eye out for any unusual bulges or unevenness in the car’s body.

Bulletproof Glass

While regular cars usually only have layers of laminated glass for protection, armored vehicles have polycarbonate-coated glass that is much thicker and heavier. You may notice this in the depth of the window frames and the sound the windows make when closed. The glass may also have a greenish or bluish tint, a telltale sign that it has been reinforced for protection. However, not all ballistic glass has this tint, so it’s not a foolproof way to spot an armored vehicle. 

Run-Flat Tires

Armored vehicles typically come equipped with run-flat tires, which allow the car to keep moving even after the tires are punctured. These tires have reinforced sidewalls and can support the weight of the armored vehicle without losing air pressure. They may appear bulkier than regular tires. Some also have unusual bulges that could indicate a built-in reinforcing ring.

But remember that not all armored vehicles have run-flat tires, and some regular cars may also have them for added protection.

Identifying Markers

In some cases, companies that manufacture or outfit armored vehicles will place their logo or name on the car’s exterior. You can usually find this on the back bumper or driver’s side door. 

The Takeaway

To someone who doesn’t know what to look for, an armored vehicle may blend in with regular cars on the road. So, if you’re thinking of investing in an armored vehicle for your protection, you can rest easy knowing that these features will keep you safe without drawing unwanted attention. You can choose to drive an inconspicuous sedan or a bulkier SUV, but no matter the exterior, you’ll have the peace of mind that your vehicle can withstand any danger.

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