Several years ago, my grandfather was driving down the highway, hit a patch of ice, swerved off the road, rolled the car, and landed upside down in the ditch. His seatbelt performed flawlessly and he stayed in his seat – thankfully the only lasting injuries were being shaken up from the crash and a destroyed vehicle.
Unfortunately, now that everything was over, the seatbelt was still doing its job – holding him in place.
Because he was now upside down there was no way to release the pressure from the seatbelt and unbuckle himself, essentially trapping him in the vehicle. Fortunately, a good Samaritan stopped to help and they were able to get him out, I assume, with a knife or seatbelt cutter.
Perhaps you’ve seen these large orange window hammer/seatbelt cutter combos before. They definitely get your attention and from what I understand work well, are easy to see and easy to grip – perfect for a commercial vehicle or taxi cab – but definitely not what I want installed in my personal vehicles.
The perfect mix between form and function.
I did quite a bit of research on vehicle safety extraction tools and enthusiastically decided on this: Resqme’s The Original Keychain Car Escape Tool – it has a window breaker and a seatbelt cutter in a compact tool designed to fit on your keychain. The design is such that when anchored all you have to do is tug on the unit and it releases from the retaining clip and is ready to use.
However, I hate having a bunch of keys in my pocket and was really looking for an option to permanently keep in our vehicles. Then it dawned on me – what if I zip tie this thing to the turn signal switch?! I gave it a try but it hung too low and hit my knees.
Looking around the dashboard to find a place to install the emergency escape tool my eyes settled on the rearview mirror – JACKPOT! I could zip tie this BEHIND the rearview mirror! Zipped it up, trimmed off the excess and it’s been there ever since. (Disclaimer: Check your local laws and regulations regarding items hanging from the rearview mirror.)
What I love about the Resqme Car Escape Tool and where I’ve mounted it:
- Behind the rearview mirror is accessible to both the driver AND the front passenger, upright or upside down.
- No-drill mounting: I don’t have to permanently alter the vehicle; and zip tied in place means even if you roll over it won’t be jostled out of place.
(It may be wise to replace the zip tie once a year and test it regularly as the sun’s UV rays will gradually degrade the plastics, especially the zip tie)
- Color options: I decided on black, because it blends in with the rearview mirror and unless I point it out, no one ever notices. You may choose to go with a brighter color for the opposite reasons – so that every passenger does notice and acknowledges where it is. 99.9% of the time it’s just me and my wife in our front seats and we both know it’s there.
- Inexpensive Price: At less than $10 each these are very economical and something I have, and will always have, in every vehicle I own.
- They’re Made in the USA!
I can’t say enough good things about this product in general. Combine an awesome product and install it with this easy lifehack and you’ll thank yourself over and over if you, or anyone you come across should ever need to escape from an unsafe vehicle.
Sidenote: I purchased our Resqmes back in 2014 and have had this blog idea, and specifically this article rattling around in my brain since then. Apparently, although this was an organic idea on my part, I’m not the only one who came to this awesome solution. Now, in the product details, Resqme lists mounting to the rearview mirror as an intended option and even includes a free zip tie – score!
Have you or someone you know ever been in a car accident?
Would you consider an item priced less than $10, that could be critical in getting yourself, or your loved ones, out of a crashed vehicle to be a worthwhile investment?
Do you like the concept behind the big-orange-hammer emergency tools but hate to drill into your dash to mount it, or look at its blaring unsightliness every time you get into your personal vehicle?
I highly recommend you check out Resqme’s Keychain Car Escape Tool – it’s truly worth your time.
For the record, I bought this item with my own money and have been using it in this manner for years – Resqme was unaware I was writing this article.