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|Product Review: Drop Stop Car Interior Safety Accessory|
|Written by Brandy Schaffels|
|Friday, 14 August 2009 05:03|
According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), 80 percent of all crashes and 65 percent of all near-crashes involved the driver looking away from the forward roadway, such as retrieving a cell phone from the gap between the driver seat and console, within three seconds of the onset of the event.
Two years ago, while driving along the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, Drop Stop® co-founder Marc Newburger had an entrepreneurial "eureka" moment, but not in the way he had intended. Newburger recalls, "I placed my phone on the center console to easily grab it when calls came in. However, when the phone rang, it vibrated and fell down the gap! While frantically trying in vain to jam my hand down and retrieve the phone, I took my eyes off the road and unknowingly pulled the wheel to the right. As I leaned to grab the phone, I jumped the curb, slammed on the brakes, and came within two inches of smashing into a metal pole."
Surprised that no one had yet invented a car interior accessory that could catch phones, keys, change, food, or any of the other personal articles that routinely fall between the seat/console gap, Newburger and his friend Jeffrey Simon combined efforts to create the Drop Stop®, a car interior safety and convenience accessory designed to guard the gap between the seat and console and help keep drivers' eyes on the road. I was delighted when they offered me an opportunity to test it for myself, because it definitely sounded like a useful product for people who spend a lot of time in the driver's seat.
The test sample was easily installed by aligning it over the seatbelt catch and wedging the flexible cushion between the seat and center console. And then I forgot it was there at all...at least until I had my own "Aha!" moment after dropping a tin of Altoid candies one night. The little mints flew everywhere, and in the dark, I didn't even bother trying to retrieve them. However, the next day, when I sat down, it was a pleasant surprise to realize I didn't have to go fishing under the seat, as the Drop Stop had conveniently stopped the tiny tablets.
Unfortunately, Drop Stop catches more than your cellphone and candies: it also catches crumbs and other small debris that might otherwise fall under the seat. Thankfully, its durable and stain-resistant neoprene casing can be cleaned quickly and easily by wiping it with a damp, soapy cloth. Its slick wetsuit-like material allows the Drop Stop to maintain a tight seal and slide easily when the seat is adjusted back and forth to accommodate different passengers. Once installed, it's easy to forget it's there—until you drop something and find it at your fingertips instead of under the seat.
Their press release claims Drop Stop provides a safer, more convenient driving experience by eliminating the distraction and potential danger that can occur when personal articles slip through a vehicle's seat/console gap, causing drivers to reflexively take their eyes off the road. It also presumes to save drivers time and money because it can prevent having to replace credit cards, licenses, make-up, earphone accessories, or other personal articles thought to be lost, but in fact simply lurking under your seat. In my experience with the product, I can definitely see how the product can assure such claims. In fact, I was so pleased with my samples, that I remembered to take my Drop Stops out of the car after it was totaled in a recent car accident: I want those things in my next car too!
Available exclusively online at BuyDropStop.com, Drop Stop® retails for $19.95 plus shipping and handling; the price is for a set of two: one for the driver side and one for the passenger side, and includes a complimentary LED Credit Card Light and Dashboard Slide-Free Pad. Drop Stop® also comes with a 60-day money back guarantee.
As an aside, when my Accord was totaled in a car accident recently, I specifically went back to the impound lot to retrieve my Drop Stops from the car. They install so seamlessly, it's easy to forget they're there, and in the flustered moments of emptying out my crashed car for the tow truck, I forgot all about them! But they're so handy, it was worth it for me to make the effort to get them back for my next car.