AutoMatters & More: Lifehammer Evolution & “Extreme Weather”


Lifehammer Evolution

The folks at Lifehammer are from The Netherlands. Their ancestors forever popularized wooden shoes (the original ‘safety shoes’). As I learned at this year’s AAPEX automotive trade show in Las Vegas (held in conjunction with the SEMA Show), their present day descendants are uber fans of Max Verstappen – Formula 1’s latest superstar racing driver (watch his virtuoso performance in the last 10 laps of the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix).

Lifehammer develops high quality car safety products. According to the Lifehammer story, in 1982 in Germany, Helmut Lechner got trapped in his upside down car after an accident. He was hanging from his seatbelts and could not disconnect them, nor could he open a door or a window. Fortunately he was able to survive until emergency personnel arrived and rescued him, but he used his terrifying experience as motivation to develop a tool to address both of those life-threatening situations. He invented the world’s first automotive safety hammer with an integrated seatbelt cutter. He called it the Lifehammer. Today’s new, time-tested Lifehammer is called the Safety Hammer Classic Glow. It glows in the dark and features a double-sided hammerhead, seatbelt cutter and an included two-way mounting system.

The Lifehammer Evolution eliminates the need to swing a hammer to break a car’s window. Instead, the Evolution is automatic. When the end of the Evolution hits the window, a ceramic hammerhead forcefully springs out, shattering the automotive safety glass. You can see how to do this by watching an instructional video on the Evolution’s product page on the company’s website (, but basically you just move the business end of the Evolution towards the window, following through with one continuous motion as the glass shatters. Do not use this tool to break non-safety glass, as dangerous shards of glass could fall and cause serious injuries.

The evolution also includes a seatbelt cutter and an adjustable mount that can be easily attached to the plastic outer wall of a car’s door pocket.

The Lifehammer Evolution, as well as other Lifehammer products, are available from and other retailers.


In the IMAX film “Extreme Weather,” we are reminded that weather is both a force of creation and destruction that is growing more extreme. Average global temperatures have risen 1-1/2 degrees Fahrenheit in the last 150 years. Our air and water interact in a vast, complex system.

Accelerated melting of glacier ice contributes to rising sea levels that threaten coastal communities with widespread flooding. Powerful tornadoes cause loss of life and tremendous destruction. Some regions are experiencing longer droughts, which fuel forest fires. In the last decade more than 150 million people have lost their homes to extreme weather events.

Our guides in this journey are National Geographic Emerging Explorer Dr. Erin Pettit, scientist Justin Walker and the men and women of CAL FIRE (the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection). They strive to better understand the dynamics of our planet’s natural forces. Thanks to their courage we are able to witness close-up views of melting glaciers in Alaska, whereby massive, 400-feet tall chunks of ice shear off in a process known as calving and come crashing down into the water below, where they melt; see destructive and unpredictable tornadoes in Oklahoma, as researchers race to predict their path so that they can place sensor pods to do research; and join firefighters as they bravely battle drought-fueled, 150-feet tall, rapidly moving walls of flame in California’s raging wildfires. All of these weather-related events are interconnected.

In a glacier, inland snow compacted into ice once took 500 years to inch its way to the ocean, but Alaska is losing billions of tons of ice every year. Dr. Pettit and her team are studying Dawes Glacier to determine how quickly it is melting.

The study of tornadoes is extremely dangerous and difficult, as research pods are hammered into the ground mere moments away from deadly winds. Their direction is unpredictable and the average tornado only lasts seven minutes.

In wildfires the heat is so intense that it creates its own weather system, forming giant cloud structures called pyrocumulus. The rising air sucks in oxygen along the ground, fueling the flames.

“Extreme Weather” is playing now in the Eugene Heikoff and Marilyn Jacobs Heikoff Giant Dome Theater of the Fleet Science Center in San Diego’s Balboa Park. For tickets and show times visits

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Copyright © 2016 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #463