Car Safety Equipment

Seat Belt Cutter   Window Punch   Summary

Seat Belt Cutter

EMI Seat Belt Cutter EMI
Seat Belt Cutter

Modern seat belt retractors and buckles are very reliable, but an accident can still leave them jammed or, more often, impossible to reach. A seat belt cutter provides a fast and safe way of getting out of any restraint. It can also be useful for other cutting tasks.

I recommend securing the cutter to the lower end of the driver's shoulder belt, where it will be within easy reach of both driver and passenger. Attach the cutter with velcro to make sure it stays where you put it.

Benchmade Rescue Hook Benchmade
Rescue Hook

While seat belt cutters are inexpensive and effective for their intended task, I prefer a more versatile tool. The Benchmade Resuce Hook has the same safety advantages but it is much tougher and can handle a wider range of tasks. You can secure it by slipping the shoulder belt through the sheath's belt loop or use cable ties to strap the sheath onto the shoulder belt.

Window Punch

EMI Slim Window Punch EMI
Slim Window Punch

An accident can leave you unable to open the doors and windows of your car. Smashing through auto glass is not easy, especially from the inside of a cramped vehicle. And that's if you're not disoriented or injured…

A window punch lets you do the job easily, reliably, with only one hand, and with very little strength. I like the slim model because the pen-style clip gives you more options of where to mount it for easy access. Mine is attached to the visor on the driver's side.


Benchmade ERT-1 Benchmade

There are quite a few multi-tools designed for vehicle emergencies. Some are excellent and some are almost useless. My favorite is the Benchmade ERT-1 which combined a seat-belt cutter, a window punch, and a small LED light into one tough and well-designed tool.


This is not a general-purpose emergency kit for your car; it is equipment specific to car emergencies. I recommend also packing a car emergency kit. Start with the categories found in our Personal Emergency Kit. Since you will not have to carry this stuff around on your person you can fill in the categories with larger and heavier items that are more effective. If nothing else, invest in a more comprehensive medical kit (First Aid) and a cell phone or radio (Signal).

Here are some additional categories to think about.
  • Shelter
  • Water and Food
  • Multi-purpose
    • Duct Tape
    • Heavy-Duty Aluminum Foil
    • Plastic Trash Bags
    • 550 Cord

Also consider what environments you expect to be in. Food and shelter are not likely to be life-threatening issues in urban areas. Trying to equip for a week stranded in Antarctica will not serve you well in the real-life situations you encounter, especially if you live in Texas.

See Equipped to Survive for more detailed information about emergency procedures and supplies, including reviews of various emergency products.