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seat belt auto/aqua release

A seatbelt that automatically releases when submerged
  (+16, -3)(+16, -3)
(+16, -3)
  [vote for,
against]

There is a disportionate amount of anxiety over being trapped in a submerged car, and not being able to release the seatbelt.

Here is a simple solution, and one that would be a good selling point for a car that emphasizes safety in its design and in its advertising campaigns.

A seatbelt latch that automatically releases when it is submerged.

Further, the car could have a small knife, one designed for cutting belts, built in to the driver's door. A knife similar to the ones parachutists carry with them when they dive, so they can cut themselves free of a disfunctioning chute.

r_kreher, May 13 2008

Here's the next step: Integral_20Side_20A..._20Window_20Breaker
[normzone, May 13 2008]

sunshine skyway bridge collapse http://www.islander...11-05/skyway-03.jpg
25 years later, still fresh in people's minds [r_kreher, May 14 2008]

Flotation airbag system Car_20flotation_20airbag_20system
More complex, but better ? [8th of 7, May 15 2008]

ABC News http://abcnews.go.c...y?id=3441588&page=1
Lots o' interest... [r_kreher, May 19 2008]

[link]






       I think I'd rather have a larger, easier to access and use, 'belt buckle.
FlyingToaster, May 13 2008
  

       I have the opposite in my life - a buckle that comes undone when I get it wet.   

       I've lost a couple of weight belts - usually through forgetting not to sweep my spear gun but from right to left when I'm attempting to cock the gun (brace gun on thigh, reach for bands, pull hard. Get tired, sweep to other thigh to see if that's any easier, catch buckle with gun butt and WHOOPS).   

       Yes, my spear gun has a nice butt.
normzone, May 13 2008
  

       Where is the difficulty in pushing the big, red, tactile button when submerged? My contention is that if you're too flustered to manage that, you're too flustered to manage the rest of the escape.
Texticle, May 13 2008
  

       Yes, but what if you have someone with you riding shotgun or in the back seat. And they are unconscious from the collision. Precious seconds...
r_kreher, May 13 2008
  

       Every little bit counts, though I don't see an add campaign revolving around the item, however amusing that might be.   

       Envisions a sort of pied piper, leading all the brands of cars into the ocean, and moments later only one individual coming up for air with said brand's keys held victoriously high as waning bubbles bubble all around her.
daseva, May 13 2008
  

       Well, I wouldn't build a whole campaign around it. More like a throw-away line for the car salesman. "Oh, and by the way, those earth-tone color-coordinated seatbelts? They come unlatched if the car is ever submerged. Yep!! Those engineers at (car company here) are constantly pushing the safety enelope."
r_kreher, May 13 2008
  

       "In the early milleseconds of the accident's beginning, his soft drink spilled onto the seatbelt buckle. What would have been a survivable accident turned tragic."
normzone, May 13 2008
  

       I must have forgotten to mention that there are built-in, highly sensitive sensors, and the unlatch mechanism will not function in the presence of coffee, soft drinks, liquor, or tea. Or milk. Or pee.
r_kreher, May 13 2008
  

       /Yes, but what if you have someone with you riding shotgun or in the back seat. And they are unconscious from the collision. Precious seconds.../   

       OK, I see your point.   

       How does it detect submersion?
Texticle, May 13 2008
  

       I sadly had to eliminate hydrooptical acoustics, as too complicated and not cost effective. Now I am leaning more towards a simpler electro magnet concept.
r_kreher, May 13 2008
  

       There are already immersion detectors on self-inflating life jackets. They don't blow up your vest when you catch some wave spray or get rained on. Nothing new needs inventing in that department.
lurch, May 13 2008
  

       (+) Although I think I would rather have airbags "surounding" the car that inflate when the car submerges.   

       Bun
Voice, May 13 2008
  

       Boned for catering to people's ridiculous fears about things that will seriously never happen.
+mw+, May 14 2008
  

       "Drowned in a car" Google 404,000 hits
r_kreher, May 14 2008
  

       [Voice], you should definitely check out the anno next to the one above yours. It helps the issue that [normzone] brings up.   

       [+mw+], really? Paying attention to obscure dangers isn't quite as obscure as the dangers themselves. I gotta hand it to you, it's a black heart that makes fear look funny.
daseva, May 14 2008
  

       [+] although this deserves a half-bun idea for me. A full bun would be a Seatbelt Automatic Aqua- and Pyro-Release...
rotary, May 14 2008
  

       [+mw+], most of the safety equipment we take for granted came from somebody planning for a long odds problem.   

       That doesn't mean we worry about it, even if it never happens.   

       Shoes were probably invented by somebody who was afraid of thorns, back when everyone's feet were fully calloused. But I'll bet you wear them.
normzone, May 14 2008
  

       Oh, [normzone], don't be annoyed with the appropriate remarks of [+mw+]. He is right in a class of his own - +mw+ means *minke whale* !!!   

       Some who like croissants and fishbones are amphibians too!
rotary, May 14 2008
  

       irrational fear or legitimate concern. It depends on where you are from. Granted, someone inland who sees a lake or a river a couple of times a week would not be terribly interested. But if you were from, say, Florida, where you are constantly driving along canals, over causeways and bridges, and along the hundreds of miles of the Alligator Alley, getting trapped in a submerging car starts to take on new meaning. Or how about New Orleans? Or anywhere along the Gulf Coast. Or any coast for that matter.
r_kreher, May 14 2008
  

       Or the netherlands, people here die because electrical systems fail if a car is in the water so government people are trying to make it a law that every car should have a hammer to break windows. It's like they have read [normzone]'s link above.   

       So a hammer with a retractable knife in the hilt would be good.
zeno, May 14 2008
  

       //He is in a class of his own//   

       With all due respect [rotary]. That was funny.
bneal27, May 14 2008
  

       I'd rather have an explosive device to open the door.
Noexit, May 14 2008
  

       how about this...   

       upon submersion, the seatbelt unlatches, and the engine compartment, the trunk, and the passenger compartment all fill with styrofoam, which will keep the car afloat for a short period of time.
r_kreher, May 14 2008
  

       ... fire retardant styrofoam operable by impact (like airbags) or an emergency switch in the passenger compartment.
FlyingToaster, May 14 2008
  

       Or a pressurized ping-pong ball tank under the back seat, with a valve specially designed to fill the cabin with thousands of ping-pong balls should the vehicle become entirely submerged in custard.   

       Always pushing the safety antelope.
Alterother, May 15 2008
  

       roasted antelope and ping pong custard. yummy!!! safety be danged. let's eat!
r_kreher, May 15 2008
  

       Breathing air canister in the steering wheel.
GutPunchLullabies, May 15 2008
  

       So now there is actually talk in the netherlands about making airbags outside the car, on the windshield. To protect cyclists.
zeno, May 17 2008
  

       [+]In addition to the water the seatbelts should also be able to auto-release in a collision a couple of seconds after the airbag has been deployed (provided that the car is upright after the impact). I have not witnessed many accidents but I would imagine that during an accident, the worst of the situation is over after the airbag comes out.
Jscotty, May 17 2008
  

       If a vehicle is going into water, the critical thing is to either (1) get a door or window open enough for egress before the vehicle is completely flooded [this will probably only be possible if done before the vehicle gets very deep], (2) have a means of breaking a window [a hardened metal tool or centerpunch], or (3) be able to hold one's breath between the time the vehicle is flooded and the time it becomes possible to open a door [depending upon depth, this may be workable if one doesn't panic, even if options (1) and (2) don't work].
supercat, May 19 2008
  

       //If a vehicle is going into water, the critical thing is to either//
4) Keep a boot (trunk) full of SCUBA gear.
Tick.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, May 19 2008
  

       I want a door that opens, a big lifeguard and AWOL's equipment.
po, May 19 2008
  

       //Boned for catering to people's ridiculous fears about things that will seriously never happen//   

       Over 10.000 cars a year end up in water after an accident.
r_kreher, May 20 2008
  

       //a big lifeguard and AWOL's equipment//
I *am* a big lifeguard, but I'm afraid Mrs AWOL has dibs on the equipment.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, May 20 2008
  

       is it fully inflatable?
r_kreher, May 20 2008
  

       /There are already immersion detectors on self-inflating life jackets. They don't blow up your vest when you catch some wave spray or get rained on. Nothing new needs inventing in that department./   

       These are basically salt tablets, the problem being they last about 2 years then are useless in that if they get a drop on them (rain) after that time they activate.   

       A Hydrostatic release unit on the belt itself may work, they are the devices on ships to release the liferafts if the ship sinks.
Geopride, May 21 2008
  

       //is it fully inflatable?//
Well, the BCD is, obviously.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, May 21 2008
  

       //Stay on the road - problem solved//   

       The problem is aleviating the disportionate amount of anxiety over being trapped in a submerged car, and by doing so come up with a practical, and cost effective improvement over the current very static seatbelt.
r_kreher, May 21 2008
  

       I tell you, it comes down to removeable hatches in all surfaces secured by expolosive bolts.   

       Initially, the automotive fashion world will be reluctant to embrace this idea. But after a clever marketing campaign, the public will revel in the everchanging "this years hatch" look.   

       Costs will come down as volumes rise, systems reliability will no longer be an issue, liability limits will be established, aftermarket addons will blossom.
normzone, May 21 2008
  

       //current very static seatbelt//
Do cars still ship with static belts?
AbsintheWithoutLeave, May 21 2008
  

       current? static? who switched the conversation over to electricity...
r_kreher, May 21 2008
  

       lovely (+)
neilp, Aug 21 2008
  
      
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