Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The Smash Gift of the Year

What do you get the person who has everything? That age-old question is actually easily answered this time of year. You get them the gift of life, of course, in the form of the Emergency Car Escape Hammer and Seatbelt Cutter.

You would never give someone one of these for their birthday, but for some reason it seems to be a perfectly logical gift at Christmas. What says “I love you” at Christmastime better than a tool that cuts through your seatbelt and breaks tempered auto glass so you can escape through your driver-side window after you’ve driven your car off a cliff into the frigid water below?

Obviously, nothing. And there are so many options these days. They all have the standard pointed hammer and safety-recessed seatbelt cutter blade, but there are new upgrades coming out every year.

Some of them glow in the dark now, because, let’s face it, most of your unscheduled cliff diving happens at night, am I right?

Mine not only has a light, but also an electronic tire gauge that will tell me my tire pressure in PSI and also in kilopascals, which will be handy if I ever drive my car off a cliff in Italy.

Mine is standard blue, but many of the new models are coming out in a variety of fashion colors, including pink, making it much easier to accessorize.

There’s even one available called the Car Cane, that doubles as a convenient handle to help you get out of your car through the door during normal circumstances. You simply slip the hammer end into the steel U-shaped latch receiver on your car’s door frame, and, presumably, scratch the holy hell out of your paint as you use the rubber-grip handle to support your weight getting out of the vehicle. I might argue that if you need a crutch to get out of your car in the Target parking lot, you might not be able to Dukes of Hazzard your way out of your driver window while the car is upside down and underwater, but who knows? Adrenaline is an amazing thing.

I found one that doubles as a phone charger, plugging into your cigarette lighter. It has a light on the end that includes LED low beam, high beam, and red strobe light. Unfortunately, the light points toward the driver when plugged into the dashboard, so the only possible scenario would be the red strobe getting activated by a childish passenger, causing the driver to become blinded and resulting in them swerving off a cliff. At least they would then have the tool that they needed to save themselves handy and easily locatable, but one could argue that the tool might not be the best gift if it causes the accidents in the first place.

They have models where the entire handle is actually a large strobe light, for those times when you drive your car off a cliff into the middle of the ocean. Just activate the strobe light and the Navy helicopters will be able to pinpoint exactly where to drop the rescue divers. I assume it also has a dye pack, for daytime ocean emergencies.

There’s even one that has solar panels in the handle, so you can use the sun to charge your phone. That’s handy when you drive off the road, need to extract yourself from the vehicle, then live next to your car for the next six to eight weeks.

These emergency tools are great and all, but here’s the thing - when you are trapped in your vehicle, you have to find this thing in your glove box or center console. But if you need to cut your seatbelt in order to get free of it, I’m going to guess you won’t be able to reach the glove box too easily. And if you keep the knife/hammer in your center console, you might as well just keep it in Cleveland. You can’t find anything in your center console when you are sitting in your driveway. What makes you think you’ll be able to locate your escape tool when you are sitting at a forty-five degree angle with water rising through the floorboards and a deployed airbag in your face?

Maybe this holiday season it’s time for a slightly more useful automotive gift, like a lesson on how to properly use a turn signal.

Or how to merge onto a freeway.

Or how to make a left turn at a four-way stop sign.

Or how to pull forward and not get out of your car in the school drop off lane.

Just some thoughts off the top of my head. If you do want to go the traditional Emergency Car Escape Hammer and Seatbelt Cutter route, just remember - this tool is completely ineffective if the gift recipient is too large to fit out of their car’s window. If that is the case, a better gift might be a personal trainer, or a car with larger windows.

Happy holidays!

See you soon,


Copyright © 2019 Marc Schmatjen

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