Seatbelts are there to save lives in an emergency, but in certain situations they can actually do just the opposite. If your vehicle ends up underwater after a freak accident, they can make escape difficult. So a Dutch company has developed a simple seatbelt adaptor that automatically releases in the presence of water.
Fijen TMLS’ Escape Belt uses a pressurised cartridge similar to what’s found in inflatable life vests. But in this case it’s being used to automatically activate the release mechanism on a seat belt.
And before you joke about a spilled coffee or Slurpee accidentally setting you free in the middle of traffic, the adaptor is specifically designed to only activate in a situation where it’s been submerged. For added safety’s sake the cartridge needs to be replaced every couple of years to ensure it’s in good working order (or after it’s been triggered) but that’s a minor inconvenience for a $US39 device that could potentially save your life one day. [Escape Belt via Gizmag]