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Old 19th November 2019, 21:27   #1
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Default How to escape from a jammed seatbelt without a seatbelt cutter

We have seen many cases, where a person loses his/her life when they are stuck inside a car due to the jamming of seatbelt in the buckle. If a person has a seatbelt cutter, it may be easy for the person to come out of the car. What if one doesn't have a seatbelt cutter? Is there any chance to escape from a jammed seatbelt?

The answer is yes. One can escape from a jammed seatbelt by following the below procedure, which hardly takes 15 seconds.

Step 1: Pull the seatbelt to its full length from the housing in the B-pillar.
How to escape from a jammed seatbelt without a seatbelt cutter-screenshot_20191119204940.png

Step 2: Pull the seatbelt, which holds your laps, fully.
How to escape from a jammed seatbelt without a seatbelt cutter-screenshot_20191119204944.png

Step 3: Now, remove your legs one after another and set your legs free.
How to escape from a jammed seatbelt without a seatbelt cutter-screenshot_20191119204947.png

How to escape from a jammed seatbelt without a seatbelt cutter-screenshot_20191119204951.png

Step 4: Pull the seatbelt in the opposite direction and get yourself out of the seatbelt.
How to escape from a jammed seatbelt without a seatbelt cutter-screenshot_20191119211902.png

Thus, you've successfully escaped from a jammed seatbelt.

@Mods: I could not find thread/post related to this. So, I'm posting this as a new thread. Please delete this post if a relevant thread/post exists.

Thanks,
Sooraj.
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Old 20th November 2019, 11:26   #2
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Default Re: How to escape from a jammed seatbelt without a seatbelt cutter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Sooraj View Post
We have seen many cases, where a person loses his/her life when they are stuck inside a car due to the jamming of seatbelt in the buckle. If a person has a seatbelt cutter, it may be easy for the person to come out of the car. What if one doesn't have a seatbelt cutter? Is there any chance to escape from a jammed seatbelt?
Not many people will have a seatbelt cutter in the car at all times. Your post may come in handy and might help someone escape when stuck in a situation. Just that in the heat of the moment, one should remember these steps on how to escape. We'll involuntarily end up pressing the seatbelt release button over and over again even if it is jammed. Maybe practise this a few times to make sure you can act accordingly during an emergency.
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Old 20th November 2019, 12:03   #3
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Default Re: How to escape from a jammed seatbelt without a seatbelt cutter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Sooraj View Post

Step 2: Pull the seatbelt, which holds your laps, fully.

Step 3: Now, remove your legs one after another and set your legs free.

Step 4: Pull the seatbelt in the opposite direction and get yourself out of the seatbelt.
It is a handy demonstration Sooraj

If Step 4 is done first up, the procedure will become more easier as it will generate more belt to free your legs in step 3

So the same procedure can be done in these steps too -

Step 1 Pull the full belt out
Step 2 Free your chest
Step 3 Pull your Lap belt
Step 4 Free both your legs

Regards

Last edited by JS Kwt : 20th November 2019 at 12:04.
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Old 20th November 2019, 12:13   #4
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Default Re: How to escape from a jammed seatbelt without a seatbelt cutter

What if the car goes turtle or sideways during an accident and it is no more possible to pull the seat-belt from their housing in B-pillars due to a person's weight (pre-tensioners locked up)?
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Old 20th November 2019, 12:28   #5
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Default Re: How to escape from a jammed seatbelt without a seatbelt cutter

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Originally Posted by ChiragM View Post
Maybe practise this a few times to make sure you can act accordingly during an emergency.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JS Kwt View Post
It is a handy demonstration Sooraj

If Step 4 is done first up, the procedure will become more easier as it will generate more belt to free your legs in step 3
Yes, you are right. However, there won't be much difference. As ChiragM said, it is better to practise this a few times, so that we get familiar with the steps.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nav-i-gator View Post
What if the car goes turtle or sideways during an accident and it is no more possible to pull the seat-belt from their housing in B-pillars due to a person's weight (pre-tensioners locked up)?
Well, I don't know much about pre-tensioners. What I know about a pre-tensioner is that in case of a sudden brake or crash, it pulls the person towards the seat. But I don't know whether it may get locked up when the car is upside down.

Experts, please do share your opinions.

Thanks,
Sooraj.
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Old 20th November 2019, 12:32   #6
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Default Re: How to escape from a jammed seatbelt without a seatbelt cutter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nav-i-gator View Post
What if the car goes turtle or sideways during an accident and it is no more possible to pull the seat-belt from their housing in B-pillars due to a person's weight (pre-tensioners locked up)?
I think in this case, one can recline the seat fully to an almost sleeping position (not possible for electronic adjustment mechanisms) and then crawl out of the seat belt from the side where gravity will help you. I would prefer the head side, as once the torso is freed, the legs have much more agility to be removed.

I had always wondered why people cant get out of seatbelts without cutters as I havent been able to imagine the challenges during an emergency situation, post an accident / flooding. If people involved in an accident can share some things which happen during such an event, it will help the forum to be prepared for those scenarios. Also we can discuss what could have been done to mitigate those. (just like my exchange with Nav-i-gator above)
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Old 20th November 2019, 12:51   #7
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Default Re: How to escape from a jammed seatbelt without a seatbelt cutter

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Originally Posted by Tom Sooraj View Post
Yes, you are right. However, there won't be much difference.
Situations differ in each and every accident, sometimes just an extra inch or two can be helpful at the critical moment for heavy bodied persons who have less flexibility or those with long legs who need more space to get free.
Again it depends on what Escape plan the person manages to think of in that panic situation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2000rpm View Post
I would prefer the head side, as once the torso is freed, the legs have much more agility to be removed.
True

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2000rpm View Post
I had always wondered why people cant get out of seatbelts without cutters as I havent been able to imagine the challenges during an emergency situation, post an accident / flooding.
Post Accident Trauma plays a large part in this. The severity of the crash and the ability of the individual to respond in such panic situations also plays an important role.
The intensity of the Shock which the head, brain and body experiences in the crash severely hinders human ability to think rationally. Most people freak out and are unable to regain complete consciousness.

Last edited by JS Kwt : 20th November 2019 at 12:55.
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Old 20th November 2019, 14:29   #8
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Default Re: How to escape from a jammed seatbelt without a seatbelt cutter

I was under an impression that seat belts might get stuck both ways, from the buckle side as well where it is connected internally. I may be wrong here but if its the case then all the above steps won't work as one will be pinned to their seat.

Had any of you faced a stuck seat belt situation in real life?
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Old 20th November 2019, 14:49   #9
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Default Re: How to escape from a jammed seatbelt without a seatbelt cutter

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Originally Posted by grevvity View Post
I was under an impression that seat belts might get stuck both ways, from the buckle side as well where it is connected internally. I may be wrong here but if its the case then all the above steps won't work as one will be pinned to their seat.
This works for front seats or middle seat with reclining option.

1.Recline the seat, now your upper body is away from the belt, and this release some extra belt length.

2.Pull the released length from waist side(horizontal) and slide your body/legs backwards to release your legs.

Last edited by Latheesh : 20th November 2019 at 15:09.
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Old 20th November 2019, 15:11   #10
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Default Re: How to escape from a jammed seatbelt without a seatbelt cutter

I was once in a long distance bus which rolled over in the night. It took me quite some time to come to my senses and realize that I was seated on the roof of the overturned bus. And then I found myself shouting at everyone in the bus to get out through the rear windshield which was being broken into by a rescuer. The rescuer had to remind me to stop shouting and I snapped out of it.

My point is - I had an out of the body kind of an experience; and I wasn't even physically hurt! I simply wasn't being myself after incurring the shock. This is exactly why I would practise whatever is suggested here so that this sequence of actions is etched onto the deeper part of my memory and attains muscle memory status. Muscle memory is great because it can be invoked and executed without our cognitive functions coming into play in moments of trauma and shock.

Great post, thanks Tom!
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Old 20th November 2019, 15:12   #11
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Default Re: How to escape from a jammed seatbelt without a seatbelt cutter

The seat belt cannot be pulled from the B-pillar in most cases after a collision/crash because the belt retractor mechanism gets locked when the seat belt pre-tensioner is activated.
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Old 20th November 2019, 16:08   #12
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Default Re: How to escape from a jammed seatbelt without a seatbelt cutter

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Originally Posted by interc00led View Post
The seat belt cannot be pulled from the B-pillar in most cases after a collision/crash because the belt retractor mechanism gets locked when the seat belt pre-tensioner is activated.
+1. I dont think its the seatbelt buckle that locks up most of the time. or it could be the tension on the belt that holds the buckle to release.
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Old 20th November 2019, 17:00   #13
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Default Re: How to escape from a jammed seatbelt without a seatbelt cutter

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Originally Posted by interc00led View Post
The seat belt cannot be pulled from the B-pillar in most cases after a collision/crash because the belt retractor mechanism gets locked when the seat belt pre-tensioner is activated.
Exactly the situation I was talking about. However, retractor mechanism still works, provided we are able to release pressure on the belt.

Let's take the example of car being overturned and the driver is hanging upside down from the seat-belt. You cannot pull even a mm more from B pillar as pre-tensioners are activated. Hold the belt near the B pillar, push/compress your stomach/body to slightly release/loosen up the seatbelt and then release your hold near the B-pillar. If you manage to release 1 or 2 inches of belt into the release machanism, the pre-tensionar lock should release (provided you do not again fall under gravity, in which case the pre-tensioner will lock again).
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Old 20th November 2019, 17:21   #14
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Default Re: How to escape from a jammed seatbelt without a seatbelt cutter

I think that Step 1 would be to try and push the seat as far back as it would go, and that Step 2 would be to recline, if possible.

The next steps make perfect sense to me.

Thanks for the post and illustrations!
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Old 20th November 2019, 17:21   #15
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Default Re: How to escape from a jammed seatbelt without a seatbelt cutter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nav-i-gator View Post
Let's take the example of car being overturned and the driver is hanging upside down from the seat-belt. You cannot pull even a mm more from B pillar as pre-tensioners are activated. Hold the belt near the B pillar, push/compress your stomach/body to slightly release/loosen up the seatbelt and then release your hold near the B-pillar. If you manage to release 1 or 2 inches of belt into the release machanism, the pre-tensionar lock should release (provided you do not again fall under gravity, in which case the pre-tensioner will lock again).
You are right on the logic and keeping this in mind can be a life saver.

However, the part in bold in the quote - 'pretensioner' is an entirely different thing which is not available in many cars. What you are talking about is the locking retractor which locks the belt so that there is no slack in the belt during a crash, holding the occupant tight in case of crash. This can be released if you take off some pressure off the belt by loosening it.

Pretensioners are a mechanism further aiding safety found in some cars where a concealed piston is engaged through a controlled small explosion (functioning much like an airbag ) in the seat belt unit to pull the body of the occupant firmly in their seats the moment it senses a crash or rapid deceleration. A pretensioner once engaged, needs change to restore it's efficacy.

And I would myself want to know if pretensioners can be freed on spot once they have seen the action.

Regards,
Saket.

Last edited by saket77 : 20th November 2019 at 17:39.
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