The Cutting Edge

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Knives Save Lives: Knives vs. Seat Belts

A photo from the scene of the accident.

A photo from the scene of the accident.

For many people who don’t use knives on a daily basis, it can be pretty easy to dismiss them as unnecessary items to carry. Unlike a wallet or keys, a knife might not have to leave your pocket unless you need to slice open packaging or cut twine.

But there’s one other reason why everyone should carry a knife: knives save lives. Sure, this may only come about once in a lifetime, but in that single moment, you control the fate of someone else’s (or your own) life.

Over the past few years, we’ve written a series of blog posts called “Knives Save Lives” documenting the real stories of how knives have been used to save someone from certain death. One thing these stories had in common was that they were unexpected.

For example, early last year, a driver lost control of a car while going over a slippery bridge in Utah. The car crashed into an icy river, trapping three small children inside a car filling with water. The driver, Roger Andersen, tried desperately to save the kids from the vehicle, but the doors were jammed shut.

Chris Willden, a former police officer, had been driving by when the crash happened. With the father he tried to push open the door, but it wouldn’t budge. Instead of trying the same thing over and over, he though of a new plan. Here’s what happened next, according to USA Today:

Willden, who jumped into the water with his father, said he tried unsuccessfully to open windows and doors. He then used his firearm just as he had done in training for his current job as a bodyguard and Department of Defense contractor.

One of the girls had found an air pocket and was breathing fine but was trapped in her seat belt. Willden cut it with a pocket knife and pulled her from the rear passenger window.

CRKT ExiTool with Seat Belt Cutter

CRKT ExiTool with Seat Belt Cutter

The man’s quick, selfless thinking and his preparedness was the difference maker. Without his knife, Willden probably wouldn’t have been able to cut the girl out of her seat belt.

Seat belts undeniably save countless lives every year, but they can also malfunction at times. This is an issue former New Hampshire state representative Jenn Coffey wrote about extensively in an article for Blade Magazine earlier this year. Having a knife with a belt cutter and window break, like this Assisted Opening Rescue Knife, is essential to have your car within arms reach.

All of these stories are examples of how tragedy can strike anywhere at anytime. Situations like this will undoubtedly happen again. The only question: will you be ready?


  1. This article is great. It is so true that seat belts masochism fails when they are heavy impacted, making the victim to be stock in the car. This is why many multi tools in the market included this survival tool. Having one in your car is always a good option .

  2. I wouldn’t be so hasty to downplay seat belts…that said, being able to cut your way out of one in a pinch can be a life or death issue. Another example how a reliable pocket knife can save your life.

  3. Years ago l did tighted my mare horse in the neck with a reata or rope the nut slide and the horse start choqin strangulate lacke l habe pake knife and cut it off
    Was a 3000.00 /tousand dollars horse.

  4. That’s a great story and example of the utility of knives

  5. a man of woman needs a sharp blade to carry with them ANY TIME you go out because you will never know when you or your Familys going to need one to count on in case of a emergency. and you are going to need a sharp blade so why not carry the best that you can trust,the CRKT EXITOOL would be the one i would wont to carry,i found out about this page from a EMT friend of mine, so i know these would be the best around.and the name has been arounf as long as me hahahahaha

  6. One problem that I have with today’s United States is that there are places that you go that they have metal detectors or disallow knives. My grandfather would have turned in his grave as he never left home without a blade. Safety is just one of the many uses that knives have and I feel that not enough people carry them.

  7. Great Article!

    I recently read a story about an Australian women who had a seizure and collapsed at the wheel. Her car ran off the road and into a lake. Fortunately, a group of teenagers saw this and rushed to her aid. One of them was carrying a knife and cut her free and another dragged her to safety. The woman survived, but the sad thing was the teenagers were warned by the police for carrying a concealed weapon!

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