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Trapped in a vehicle? New tool works to help you escape

Device shatters window in seconds

It's a terrifying thought, trapped in your vehicle and you can't get the door or window open. A new tool on the market the size of a credit card, promises to get you out in seconds by shattering the window. North Birmingham Truck and Auto Recycling gave us an old vehicle to try out some of the gadgets.

Jim Alexander invented the Open Window for Life tool known as the Owl. He was inspired to engineer something after a mail carrier drowned just miles from his Georgia home. She was trapped in her vehicle and rescuers were delayed finding her.

With the Owl there's just two simple steps: push the card in the window seal as far as it goes, then use two fingers to pull the card back and in an instant the window is shattered. "It takes no strength; it's different from anything on the market," explains Alexander. He says in a panic situation the Owl is easy to use.

The small stainless steel metal disc on the back works on the principles of physics to shatter glass. It can be stored on the visor within reach of the driver. And if you have trouble getting out of the seat belt, the recessed razor on the Owl allows for an quick cut of the material.

We also checked another tool that promises to bust you out through a window. It didn't even crack the glass after repeated hits. A hammer did work to break the window, but where do you store a heavy object that you can get to quickly in an accident is a big question mark.

Corporal Steve Smith says no gadget will help if you're seriously injured or knocked out in a crash. A seat belt is your best protection. Also if you're trapped try not to panic so you can think clearly and act quickly. As water rises or a fire spreads there's not time to call 911, you must get out of the vehicle first.

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