1. KrisG
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    KrisG Member

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    Free from a seatbelt?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by KrisG, Jan 17, 2011.

    Basically, a car accident happens, and one of my characters' seatbelt has become stuck. I'm not sure the best way to play this out. I had considered one of my characters using a Swiss army knife to cut it. Some people might see this unrealistic to carry one, but I do, but why couldn't my character ;) The problem I had, was that I doubt it would be able to cut through.
    Struggling to find a way to free him...

    Any help is welcomed, thank you!
     
  2. Spring Gem
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    Spring Gem Member

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    Your character could have one of those seat belt cutter/window smasher things advertised on TV. I don't have one, but I've always thought it would be a good thing to have, just in case.
     
  3. The Degenerate
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    The Degenerate Active Member

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    I second that. They make seat-belt cutters for your keychain, and they're sold in many retail outlets. I know a few people who have them, so they're really not that uncommon.

    Also, most car survival kits come with multi-tool knives.
     
  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I often have a pocket knife on me. Comes in handy at various times. I don't think anyone would think it unrealistic for your character to carry one.
     
  5. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    A good amount of people carry pocket knives, especially in the midwest. Farmers, hunters, or anyone else that has a reason to use a pocket knife regularly will carry one.

    A pocket knife can cut through a seat belt. It will take a good 5-10 seconds just because the seat belt is made from strong material-longer if you MC is struggling and in a hurry. That's not including the time it would take your MC to get the knife out of his pocket and unfold it.
     
  6. Samurai Jack
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    Samurai Jack Active Member

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    Meh

    In my circles it's uncommon to find someone without a pocket knife of some sort. But then I carry around a katana, so... *shrug*

    Now when your character pulls out a Swiss Army Hydraulic Spreader just make sure he says "go go gadget" to avoid the raised eyebrows.
     
  7. KrisG
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    KrisG Member

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    I didn't honestly think a pocket knife would have cut through a seatbelt. I don't see it as unrealistic, I carry one everywhere, real handy :D But yeah, I've never even heard of anyone carrying seatbelt cutters in this country haha!

    I am leaning more towards the pocket knife
     
  8. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    "...Your character could have one of those seat belt cutter/window smasher things advertised on TV...."

    IMHO, pocket knives are much more common. I had a favorite Swiss Army Knife that I lost several years ago, and haven't gotten around to getting another. It's a bit embarrassing to be in a roomful of guys, need a blade, and find you're the only one there without one.

    As we have a garden and vend at the farmers' markets in the area, we always end up with multiple pairs of scissors in the vehicles, and often pruning shears too. Neither would be the easiest to use, but could suffice in a manner.

    -Frank
     
  9. rainy
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    rainy Senior Member

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    My sister and I both carry knives, and so do most of my friends. I'm pretty certain that someone could make it work with enough desperation.
     
  10. Peerie Pict
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    Peerie Pict Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just to add a bit of balance, in my part of the world nobody (except criminals) carries a knife. It is illegal and sentencing for carrying a knife can lead to a custodial sentence of up to four years just for possession. People tend to get murdered with these weapons. Funny that.
     
  11. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    Peerie,

    Does that include even small pen knives and Swiss army knives?

    I recall the UK having something of a discussion about knife crime last year.

    I live in a rural part of the USA, and a pocket knife of some sort is considered an essential tool - alongside duct tape and bailing twine.

    -Frank
     
  12. KrisG
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    KrisG Member

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    Yeah Peerie, does here. I'm not actually sure whether or not it includes pen knives, but I think it does. Regardless, I carry one around, always come in handy. Beats carrying a bottle opener, scissors, screwdriver, corkscrews etc in my pocket ;)
     
  13. WastelandSurvivor
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    WastelandSurvivor Member

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    Knives are tools, first and foremost, and are carried by a great many people very often--myself included, of course. A properly maintained knife will certainly cut through a seatbelt, and without much difficulty, but if the knife is dull you will definitely have a hard time of it.
     
  14. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    You know what is interesting, Frank - back when I was in high school (late 1980s), most of the guys carried pocket knives with them all the time, including during the time they were at school. I can think of more than one occasion where a teacher asked if anyone had a knife (to open something or whatever; I don't recall the precise circumstances), and one of us would offer up a pocket knife for the teacher to use.

    Today, you have kids getting suspended for carrying nail clippers to school.
     
  15. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    This varies too. I was in highschool in the late 90s after they made it illegal to take a pocket knife to school. It was in the midwest where there were lots of farmers.

    In a woodshop class the teacher needed to cut something and scissors weren't good enough so he asked it anyone had a pocketknife. No one answered. Finally the teacher turned around, "I know someone has a pocket knife. I don't care. I just need to use it." One of the students gave him a pocket knife to use. :)

    Sometimes I feel really sad about a lot of things in the modern world. :(
     
  16. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah. Not to highjack the thread too far, but is it true that some of the changes are unfortunate. As a kid in California, my friends and I would be gone from dawn to dusk, maybe riding bikes home to eat lunch. This would have been early 80s. We even hitch-hiked all over the place to get where we wanted to go (although our parents were not aware of that). Fights at school were resolved by the principal calling the parents (which was your worst nightmare, because your parents would darn well make sure you paid for it). No police involvement or further punishment in most cases.

    These days, it seems like you have to keep close tabs on kids at all times. I doubt many people would feel at all comfortable seeing their 10 or 11 year old heading out the door at 8 am and not returning until dark.

    I don't know how much of this is due to an actual increase in danger, or due to 24-hour media coverage.

    Now I sound old.

    Get off my lawn you kids!!
     
  17. Xeniyah
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    I think that the tool your character could use to cut through, should depend on the setting of your story (I more or less assumed that the story takes place in an existing world, much like our own with this).

    In the US, it is pretty normal to carry a knife so if you have based your setting on US standards, it's fine. But in most European countries, carrying any weapon is actually illegal and thus it's very unlikely to see people walking around with a pocket knife. A tool mentioned earlier would make way more sense in that case.

    So my advice: look at your setting, do some really basic research (this thread helped a lot already!) and it's pretty easy to find a fitting tool :)
     
  18. Miss Jade
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    Miss Jade New Member

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    Maybe instead of a knife your character could use an item from the car or the accident itself.

    A piece of glass from a window? He can just lean his chair all the way back and slip out of the belt that way. If we are talking about regions maybe he has boot spurs and not a pocket knife (lol)? Maybe he just pulls the floor mount out - or it was loosened in the crash or he pries it out with a lug wrench (what you use to fix flat tires).

    I think if you include a tool like the pocket knife or boot spurs you should go back in your story and subtly mention that the character has that sort of kit on him.

    Also check out the seat and seatbelt diorama - maybe it'll help?
    http://www.wescoperformance.com/seat-belt-install-3-point-retract.html
     
  19. nzric
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    nzric Active Member

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    How about using the cigarette lighter from the car to burn through the belt?

    I agree, glass or metal shards might do it.

    I don't know too much about cars, but could they use something in the car (crowbar, screwdriver or tool from the glovebox) to damage the seatbelt locking mechanism itself?

    Or they could just release the seat lever so the seat falls backwards, then slide out under the belt into the back seat?
     
  20. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    Cars use safty glass - it shatters into relatively harmless little cubes. The windshield, in particular, is a laminate with plastic between sheets of glass. When a windshield shatters, it mostly stays in one (crackled) piece.

    -Frank

    ps: I have the same memory you do, Steerpike.My high school years were 88-92. Just a few years later, no one was allowed to carrry a knife. The teachers stood with the administration in public, but I have no doubt that inside the teachers' lounge many thought it a rather stupid thing to do.
     
  21. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Glass from a car window would not work because it isn't the same type of glass you find in the windows of a home.

    The glass in the side and rear windows is designed to shatter into tiny pieces so people won't get seriously cut on them. Watch a movie or look at the pictures of a car wreck.

    The windshield of the car is specially made so that stays together as a single piece despite how many cracks go through it.
     
  22. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    I carry a thumb activated knife with a serrated edge which is exactly what that's for. I have a tiny one in the glove box. If would be tough to cut the belt without that type of edge. However the swiss knife does have scissors.

    Also a Leatherman tool might be good.
     
  23. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    A SAK's scissors are usually quite weak-tea. Good for snipping lose threads, paper, maybe cardboard. The blade, though not nearly as good as a jack-knife, would work in a fashion.

    Agreed about the Leatherman. We have a knock-off with various garden tools (ie pruning shears instead of the pliers) and it is often the first thing I reach for when working outside with the plants.

    For those unfamiliar with the company, think of a Swiss Army Knife, but a bit bigger, with sturdier tools. You would take a SAK into the backyard, and a Leatherman to the construction site.

    As to how it looks, imagine a pair of pliers, with various small tools nestled into the handle - they are often hinged at the butt-ends of the handles. These handles can be folded out, hinged just below the plier's hinge, and swung such that they cover the pliers and form a compact block.

    -Frank
     
  24. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    There's many type of Leatherman tools and this is a handy one:

    [​IMG]

    The type of knife I mentioned:

    [​IMG]

    Sometimes these are called "cop knives" because police carry them to quickly cut through seat belts.
     
  25. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just adding to this. A more generic name for a Leatherman is multi-tool. :)
     

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