You wouldn’t think it, but an innocent bottle of water can be a deadly safety hazard.
Disregarding the possibility of chemicals seeping into your drink in a hot vehicle, an unsecured water bottle laying about could cause an accident, warned Malaysian police.
It posted on the Polis Daerah Pendang Facebook page last Wednesday (Feb 12) warning drivers against the simple act of placing a water bottle (or any other drink container) in a vehicle.
The reason? It could roll under the brake pedal, effectively jamming it. And it has happened before.
In the post written in Malay, it stated:
“If the vehicle starts to lose control, the bottle, whether it is 250ml or 1.5 litres, or any other beverage container, may get stuck under the brake pedal,” and “no matter how much force you exert, it doesn’t help because a high pressure is required to break the bottle”.
Even if one successfully breaks the bottle, it would have reduced the reaction time required during an impending crash situation where every millisecond counts, the post continued.
Noting that many people choose to place their flasks under the driver’s or passengers’ seats, it added that this is “one of the most dangerous acts.”
Despite the fact that many vehicles come with inbuilt cup holders, they are often overlooked and used to put coins, clips and other random items instead. “This reckless attitude could cost someone their life,” the post read.
The advisory concludes with an anecdote of a case reminiscent of a scene “from [the movie] Final Destination 2”.
A first-responder had given an account of a fatal car crash in which a child’s water bottle was lodged under the brake pedal. The driver had failed to depress the brake, causing the deaths of those on board.
WATER BOTTLES CAN CAUSE CAR FIRES
Besides the possibility of causing accidents, water bottles laying about in vehicles are dangerous for another reason — it could start a fire.
Much like how a magnifying glass works, flammable material (like the fabric of a car seat) may get ignited by the focus of sunbeams through a bottle of water.
Here’s a video showing how it can occur:
With that many drawbacks, one piece of advice may be to ditch the plastic bottle completely and quench your thirst only after your drive. In tiny Singapore, that’s not going to take you that long, anyway.