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Dutch firm invents seatbelt that releases automatically while under water

When it comes to safety issues, we are often our own worst enemies. Our tendency to panic in dangerous situations often renders us unable to deal with situations, which normally wouldn’t present much difficulty were we in a right state of mind. One such situation is when a car crashes into a body of water and becomes submerged. In the ensuing panic, some people have been known to simply strain against the seat belt until their air runs out, their panic preventing them from simply unlatching the belt. Statistics show that about half of Americans who drown in vehicles were wearing seat belts at the time, and while this doesn’t mean that the seat belt was necessarily the cause, or at least the only cause, for drowning, perhaps it would  be safer to have a system that prevents our own panic from doing us in.

Enter the Escape Belt, a product from the Dutch firm Fijen. This small device attaches to your seat belt and automatically releases  the belt when it becomes submerged. The operation is simple enough. The device contains a small cartridge, originally developed for self-inflating life jackets, which activates when submerged in water. This in turn actuates a mechanism to release the seat belt, freeing you from a potential watery grave. The product costs a modest $40 and is easy to install with a standard  Allen key. Most people never crash into water, of course, and quite a lot of those that do manage to get their seat belts off in time, but a simple and inexpensive way to eliminate a potential major safety hazard is certainly a good idea.