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Escape Belt releases your seat belt when your car fills with water

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December 6, 2012

The Escape Belt (on left side of buckle), just prior to releasing the seat belt in a pool ...

The Escape Belt (on left side of buckle), just prior to releasing the seat belt in a pool test

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For most of us, chances are that we will never be in a car that plunges into the water. However, if you consider yourself “at risk” for that sort of eventuality – say, if you’re a rally driver or Jason Bourne – you might be interested in the Escape Belt. It automatically releases your seat belt when exposed to water.

The Escape Belt causes your seat belt to release when exposed to water

The Escape Belt – which isn’t actually a belt – is attached by the user to their car’s existing seat belt buckle (the part with the button, that the belt’s tongue plugs into). Like some types of auto-inflating life jackets, it incorporates a salt pill that dissolves when submerged. When that pill disintegrates due to water gushing into the car, the device responds by causing the buckle to release the belt.

According to Fijen TMLS, the Dutch company that makes the product, things like beverage spills won’t accidentally trigger the Escape Belt. The cartridge containing the pill, however, does need to be replaced every couple of years.

Of course, many people who find themselves in sinking cars do manage to release their seat belts themselves. Still, in a situation like that, anything that makes things easier would no doubt be hugely appreciated.

The Escape Belt is priced at €29.95 (US$38.84). It can be seen in use in the video below.

Source: Fijen TMLS

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
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10 Comments

Great idea, but sorry, I'd never install this device. Why? It clearly states in my vehicle's owners manual that tampering, modifying or removing safety features such as airbags, seat belts, etc. will void my warranty. The legal ramifications of who might be at fault in the event of an accident is staggering and a field day for lawyers.

Fahrenheit 451
6th December, 2012 @ 04:37 pm PST

all I remember is many people in Holland don't wear a seatbelt

because of this, great invention

Derek Pater
6th December, 2012 @ 06:17 pm PST

"For most of us, chances are that we will never be in a car that plunges into the water. However, if you consider yourself “at risk” for that sort of eventuality – say, if you’re a rally driver or Jason Bourne."

I heard somewhere; possibly on Top Gear; that more people drown in cars than in swimming pools.

Robert Flieger
7th December, 2012 @ 08:41 am PST

Now add struggle to the equation. Does it still work if it is being pulled on?

Bryant Drake
7th December, 2012 @ 10:01 am PST

Almost $40 for this? You're better off buying one of those emergency tools like the CRKT ExiTool, which has a belt cutter, glass breaker and an LED flashlight. And it's less than 1/3 of the price. You can even use it on more than one seat belt. Plus it would also be useful in other circumstances that don't involve water when the belt might jam, such as in a plain-jane car crash.

Gadgeteer
7th December, 2012 @ 04:06 pm PST

This is about time some one thought of this. Good for them.

Ed Georgina Schultz
7th December, 2012 @ 05:12 pm PST

Yeah sure, be caught in a downpour of a cloudburst with the sunroof's pants down!

Essarr
7th December, 2012 @ 07:26 pm PST

Seems like a good enough idea, I would hope they would come standard or something eventually though, as I would surmise most people wouldn't expect to be in the sort of accident that would require one enough to take the time to actually buy one. At least not where I'm from.

Having had family perish in this sort of situation though, I can certainly see the merit in the tech.

Joel West
7th December, 2012 @ 08:45 pm PST

@ farenheit 451

I don't think this would count as modifying anything, as it's an attachment, though, would it? I don't think you have to remove or add anything to the seatbelt itself.

Joel West
7th December, 2012 @ 08:47 pm PST

This was a winner on the show "Het Beste Idee van Nederland" (Holland's Best Idea) back in 2007. Good that they're ready to roll it out now. Statistics for Holland were about 750 cars a year in the water, in which about 50 people drown, most of whom had their seatbelts on.

It'd be nice if this eventually becomes standard.

And for the record, almost everyone I know wears a seat belt, here in Holland.

Frank van Schie
8th December, 2012 @ 01:22 pm PST
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